Images Part 33

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Part Thirty Three

I tell my kids that when I was their age, my boy is 13 and my daughter 18 by the way, oh, how rude., they do have names, Michael and Nico, I tell them I did not have a home computer. They look at me and you can just tell what they’re are thinking. Why, are you crazy? How could you NOT have one. There is a look of horror as they realize that meant life without Nintendo and or the Net. No calculators either I add. How did you do your math then is the look. No channel changers, no remote controls for anything actually. You can’t mean you did it by hand, get up every time to change a channel or switch CDs? There were no CDs. They believe we had dinosaurs walking around when I was their ages. To those of you who are reading this and in your late teens, your twenties or early thirties you may not remember that there was once a world without MTV. You never consider that, do you? Why should you anyway, you grew up with it, and besides, there really is no reason to. Well, until now that is, because the history of MTV is crucial to understanding the importance of what Bowie did in 79. First of all though, do any of you know when MTV started?

Stage was a surprise in Britain, it went to number five on the charts. Elsewhere though, Bowie’s sales were either flat or declining. March of 1979 found Bowie once again in America, New York to be specific, along with him was Tony Visconti. Bowie wrote the lyrics to Lodger during this time, and together with Visconti also did the final mix to the album. Lodgers was finished.

For those of you who still doubt the marketing abilities of Tony Defries, here is one more thing. He understood how “fickle” the “public” are, prone to blindly follow trends and easy to manipulate. “Video is the way to sell records,” he stated in the early seventies, and once again he was proven right. The answer by the way is 1981, prior to that there WAS NO SUCH THING AS MTV. It is difficult, yes even for me, to imagine a world that was void of music videos because they are so prevalent now. They are EVERYWHERE you look. Even so they are a relatively “new” medium, because prior to 81 they were few and far between, and this is something that you must understand. Nobody, save a few, made them. Record companies, marketing and advertising agencies, as well as most artists saw NO VALUE in them, either as an artistic medium, or a marketing platform. It was determined they were not worth the cost.

This point I agree is arguable, but the first foray into what could be accurately described as a “music video” was in 1967, done by the Beatles. The videos were made for Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever. The Beatles themselves were the reason the record companies invested their funds into these videos, as well as the feature films based around The Beatle’s music such as Yellow Submarine, and did not do so for other artists. You see, The Beatles made incredible profits for their labels, therefore almost any expenses incurred to promote them could be justified, and this was not true of other artists. The world would not see another music video until late in 1975. This one made by the band Queen, and directed by Bruce Gowers, on a 5,000 pound budget. The video Bohemian Rhapsody earned fantastic royalties, even so, video never caught on. What caught Bowie’s eye were the very few bands who tried mixing film and music in clips lasting a few minutes, Devo being one. The power of TV to sell music had long been recognized by the music industry executives, though not through the use of music videos. The first musical broadcast goes back to 1930, a performance by composer George Gershwin. The real marketing power however came from the “dance shows” such as Dick Clarke’s American Bandstand, a staple for teenagers since the sixties, and Your Hit

Parade. Bowie had experimented with film in the late sixties, while still managed by Kenneth Pitt. This was for a self produced special designed for TV. The film, titled Love You Till Tuesday, consisted of visual impressions of some of his songs such as When I’m Five, Space Oddity, The Ching A Ling Song as well as a few others. There was also a mime routine included, and this is the only known film in existence showing Bowie performing mime while studying with the renowned Lindsay Kemp. It is worth seeing.

Let me pause the authors story for just one minute to relate one of my two “six degrees of David Bowie” moments. I once worked as Assistant Stage Manager on the production of the musical, Godspell, at our community theatre. The director was Todd Farley. Todd studied under and toured Europe with famed mime, Marcel Marceau. Linda Kemp also studied with Marcel Marceau and David Bowie studied with Lindsay Kemp. That’s five degrees but I have a second instance where I can get from me to Bowie in three! I’ll save that one in case AlaDINsaNE touches on that episode in future articles. Now back to the story.

Devo caught Bowie’s attention in 1977, and in 1979 Bowie convinced the “suits” at RCA, between rounds of their ongoing battle I imagine, to underwrite the financing that would enable Bowie to produce three music videos from tracks that appeared on Lodger. How significant was this? Well, look. This was in 79, TWO YEARS BEFORE MTV EVEN EXISTED, NOBODY WAS MAKING MUSIC VIDEOS. Do you see now what a truly significant move this was on the part of Bowie and RCA once you start looking back on history. Bowie is NEVER credited for his contribution to the advent of music videos. Why? Because people don’t learn their history, and this is exactly why this fact is overlooked by THE MAJORITY of Bowie fans. COMPLETELY MISSED! I hear Bowie fans constantly spouting off on the fact that they consider David Bowie to be a genius. I say to them, “What about his contribution to the medium of music videos?” The reply, “What contribution?” Yeah, right, he was only one of the founders of it. No big deal I suppose. Well, maybe to you, I thankfully happen to be a lot different though.

Here we have Bowie once again demonstrating a powerful example of his abilities as a multi faceted artist, able to use not one, but many different mediums in order to convey his personality and thoughts to his audience. Bowie was an innovator, and one of the pioneers that actually began “rock videos,” and as before the ENTIRE MUSIC INDUSTRY eventually caught on and followed his lead. This is another prime example without question of David Bowie being YEARS ahead of his time. It is also a prime example of the power of Bowie’s work, and don’t you EVER underestimate that fact, because it would leave you looking rather silly. Why? Well, if you think for a minute at what Bowie did in 79 with regards to video, as he did with music on Low and other pieces of his work, he literally CHANGED THE COURSE OF MODERN MUSIC FOREVER. How many others have had such an impact on music as Bowie has? I count none.

Bowie chose David Mallet to direct all three videos. Mallet had experience from American TV, he worked on two innovative “dance music” shows in the sixties, Shindig and Hullabaloo. When Bowie hooked up with him in 79 he was the director of Kenny Everett’s series, which Bowie appeared on the same year. Now, I have a serious problem at times, and that is with “credits.,” ones that appear on films, albums, or anything else for that matter. Why? Well, I am just too fucking curious, that is why. See, you read a credit, maybe it says something like this for example, “Director – David Mallet, Co-Director – David Bowie.” Sorry, that is just NOT good enough for me because it is not explanatory enough. You see, I want to know EXACTLY what EACH ONE contributed to the project. In this case I have used as an example, I WANT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT BOWIE DID, how much, and what was it really that he contributed. If you think that I am TOO curious, well, sorry, because that is how I happen to “learn” things, and I won’t ever apologize for using my brain. I know a few who should try it sometimes. It is because of this curiosity that I watched the three videos from Lodger quite a few times over the past three days. It was during this time that I started to wonder about how much input Bowie had in the making of them, because I had no idea. I did not know whose ideas were

used to write the “story lines” for example, Bowie, Mallet or someone else. Who came up with the theme for the sets? Did Bowie have any input as to how the parts were acted, or filmed. As a person who attempts to understand the entire scope of Bowie’s talents, these are extremely important questions to me, and ones that surprisingly I had never considered before. These questions arose only because of writing Images.

You know me, I am relentless, and this was no exception. Nothing remains unanswered if I can help it, so away I went the other day. The “vaults” were opened, a process I now do alone, as I was sure the answer to all my questions lay somewhere inside. I do not go through my Bowie stuff anymore with anyone else around who is not a die hard, and the reason is that my girlfriend, as well as most of my friends, will no longer tolerate it. The fact is that as I go through decades of what they call “that stuff,” and, I find items that I have not seen for some time, a few I forgot I even had.” The sheer “excitement” of rediscovering many of these important artefacts causes me to want to “share” their value with others. Hey, have I ever shown you this picture? See, a press release photo from 76, Slick AND Ronson together? The reply, ” I think so.” Well, look. Oh, fuck, Rolling Stone, 76, Cameron Crowe interview with Bowie. I am going to read you THE WHOLE THING. It’s great. Now, listen. The David Bowie Black Book. Here, I’ll show you something. Page 101. There, see.? That is MY FAVOURITE picture of Bowie, look at the hair. The reply, ” I have seen that. You show it to me every week.” Oh, do I? Sorry. Hey, 87 tour program. Did I tell you how much I hated that fucking tour. “Yep, two or three times a day.” See this 76 program? Try and find one of these. Oh, you can get the program, but try and find the envelope they came in along with it. See, DAVID BOWIE – ISOLAR. It took me over twenty years to find one. After that show in 76 I went right past the program vendors and out the fucking door. Idiot, eh? I paid $30.00 for this one, I would have paid $500.00. “Knowing you, you would have paid a lot more if you had to,” they say. How do you know? “You tell me that every day pretty much.” ReallY? That much? Oh. Can you believe this, some guy on our newsgroup sent me this as a present, a 78 tour program from Australia. He just gave it to me. “I saw it.” When? “Once last week, three times the previous week, and around twelve times last month alone just for starters.” Hmmm? Look! “I know, a Glass Spider promotional frisbee.” I showed you that? “Many times.” Ahhhh, Station To Sta…. “Japanese pressing,. Right?’ Well, uh… “And you have an original on vinyl, and a Ryko, and a Ryko AU20 Remaster, and the standard RCA issue CD, and every other pressing of that album that is know to exist in the known universe, and you have six CDs and two vinyl copies of the Nassau boot because you would commit suicide if you ever lost it. I know, make sure you are buried with the AU20, the Nassau, Rotterdam and Cleveland boots. Oh, and the 76 tour program.” I told you all this already I guess. “Yeah, several million times.” Well, curiosity they say killed the cat, and mine was no where in sight as the boxes were opened, in a ritual reminiscent of what one would expect to see if something priceless was handed to the unworthy. The mood was one of reverence and humility as I rummaged through countless fucking boxes, piles of magazines, newspapers, and every other known source of Bowie interviews in the hopes of finding some comment from Bowie on the making of the videos from Lodger. Finally, three o’clock in the morning, September 1980, New Musical Express. The search had ended.

It isn’t much, but it is enough. I had no idea, as I said, to the extent of Bowie’s contribution to these videos, or if everything was left in fact to David Mallet. What I read was sufficient enough to cause me to never look at one particular video the same way again, I now have a much greater respect for it after what I learned. The role that David Bowie had in the making of the videos on Lodger seems

to me now to have been a lot larger than I had anticipated. It seems that Mallet’s expertise was needed basically from a technical perspective, in order to be able to put BOWIE’S IDEAS on to film. I am getting a little ahead of myself here, but I want to bring this up now. This interview reveals little about Bowie’s input on the Lodger videos, except that the ideas were Bowie’s, and Mallet was left in charge of how to express what Bowie wanted to on video. What really got my attention however was when Bowie went on to talk about his work with Mallet on the Ashes To Ashes video, and it is this video that I will never look at the same way again. It has always been my favourite Bowie video in the first place, but truthfully I never really gave Bowie the credit he personally deserves for it. I was under the impression, for some unknown reason, that the story line, direction, and the film sequences were probably the work of many, and Bowie’s role a lesser one. I could not have been more mistaken, and I will let Bowie explain. Here is an except from that interview for you that I have taken from the New Musical Express. The words are David Bowie’s, so here you go. “The three video’s that were done for Lodger were co-directions inasmuch as I gave David (Mallet) complete control over what I wanted to put in there. But this one (speaking about the Ashes To Ashes video) I story – boarded myself, actually drew it frame for frame. He edited it exactly as I wanted it and has allowed me to say publicly that it was my first direction. I’ve always wanted to direct and this is a good place to start – to get some money from a record company and then go away and sort of play with it.” I admit that even though I think that I am quite aware of David Bowie’s abilities, I was surprised when I read this. It is fascinating to me how a video of this calibre, which I consider one of the best music videos ever made by any artist, was taken from a CONCEPT, to a SCRIPT, and then ACTED and DIRECTED in, and after to a FINAL EDIT BY BOWIE HIMSELF, and this was his FIRST ATTEMPT. All I can say is MORE PLEASE.

I hate music videos. I hate MTV, and I hate all music video channels. MTV, MINDLESS AND TOTALLY VOID is what it should stand for. It is a fucking insult to anyone who has an ounce of intelligence. Music TV my ass, it DESTROYED MUSIC. It is a BLIGHT, a PLAGUE, and an INSULT to art. MTV is for the brain dead where art and intelligence are concerned, oh, and this IS NOT MY OPINION either. Prove it? My pleasure. When it comes to studying any art form there is one common perception that must be shared by everyone, regardless. What is that? INTERPRETATION. This applies to music, painting, sculpture, architecture, dance, and any other form of artistic expression. What is created by an artist has a meaning, it is an expression, a form of communication. Art is designed to cause a reaction by evoking EMOTION in those who view it. Art is not only viewed, but FELT as well, that is if it is worth anything. Listen to Warszawa. What does it mean to you? In all probability each person gets a different experience listening to it. I have experienced a wide variety of different emotions from the same piece of music. One of the greatest joys a person can get from the appreciation of music is the fact that through individual interpretation music can become personal. The best way to illustrate this is to ask you about your own personal experiences with music. Mostly all of you have certain pieces of music that are “deeply personal” to you in some way or another. The ones I am referring to are those that made an emotional impression on you so deep that they really mean something to you. Sometimes we may hear what an artist writes and then say to ourselves, ” What that song says is EXACTLY how I FEEL, I could have written that myself. He understands things the way I do.” Music can often help get us through the “rough spots” we experience in life. It can bring joy if it reminds us of something good, because we associate it with certain experiences or moments in our lives. Likewise, it can bring us sorrow, even pain..

I ask you this simple question. Why can a piece of music be deeply personal to you, and the same piece mean nothing special to me? The answer is interpretation, and because we are each different as people, we interpret art in our “OWN” unique and individual way. Now, lets use Teenage Wildlife here, just because I really like it. Hear that Buffer if you are reading this? To me this song invokes feelings of a loss of innocence as one matures from adolescence into adulthood. When we are younger we have hopes in a world that looks bright with prospects, adventure. It is something to seize, to leave our stamp on. Unfortunately, reality sets in, you find yourself in a jungle, and it is every man for himself. Instead of prospects, the goal is survival. The world you discover is not what you thought, it is mean. To you it may have been what was playing in your car when you picked up a girl on a date that you didn’t think would go out with you. You got up the nerve, and expecting a rejection, you asked and she agreed to go out with you. What’s more, it really worked out, you stayed together. Every time you hear Teenage Wildlife it reminds you of the time she got into your car, and how happy and terrified you were at the same time. If you are Buffer, a friend of mine, when you hear Teenage Wildlife then you turn off your CD player and go and bitch and complain on the news group about how much you loathe that song, only to have me tell you that you are quite mental. Now, suppose THE FIRST TIME you heard Teenage Wildlife was on TV when you saw the video for it. This is all hypothetical of course. The video depicted a high school, and a group of rather “straight” kids, more the “art” type who would pursue things with an intellectual flavour, rather than weapons. This group is being relentlessly harassed by another group in the school who harbour a vendetta against these people, and who are determined to lay something of a “shit kicking” on them, if they can get them in an isolated area. The video has depicted a cat and mouse game between these two groups from the beginning, however the ones “hunted” find an escape route every time they seem to be cornered. One day however one of the boys stays behind after school, it is late and the building is almost deserted, sitting at a desk in a room alone he glances up at the window in the door. It is there he sees a face, the face of one who has been chasing him for so long. This happens as you hear the line, “What shall I do? They wait for me in the hallway.” Then he realizes that he is trapped. “They move in numbers, they’ve got me in a corner. I feel like a group of one. Oh, no. They can’t do this to me. I’m not some piece of Teenage Wildlife.” The scenes in the video play out as the intended victim, “Howls like a wolf in a trap,” only to see his assailants enter through the now broken door. The first hand to strike him causes him to, “Fall to the ground like a leaf from a tree,” catching a glimpse out the window on the way down, ” Looks outside at that vast blue sky.” Now, I need not progress any further with a story line here, you get the idea.

There are of course many different ways in which we can gain exposure to a piece of music for the first time. However, unlike before, the way a piece is interpreted now depends not only on our own imaginations, but is controlled to a large extent by the medium that brought us the music. The “freedom” of thought which allows each person to interpret what they hear in their own unique and individual way, is also restricted to a great extent by the way music is delivered to us these days. I have fabricated this Teenage Wildlife video “story line” for a reason, I want to illustrate a point about two mediums most commonly used to broadcast music, and their effects as to the way we receive it. You have never heard Teenage Wildlife. Your first exposure to the song comes one night while you are sitting at home watching MTV or some other program with an identical format. You happen to like what you hear, how couldn’t you, and so you pay close attention to the video that is playing. The song happens to come up in conversation one day, and the person you are talking to asks you what is the song about. What is you answer? The person who asked will be given by you no

doubt, a brief synopsis of what you saw in the video. The person who asked will now know that the David Bowie song Teenage Wildlife is about a conflict between two different groups of teenagers. You know this because that is what you were “told” it was about.

There is no comparison. You are either listening to the radio, at a friend’s house or you just purchased Scary Monsters and this is you first listen. Robert Fripp’s guitar grabs you and holds you while Bowie asks, “How come you only want tomorrow?” “Wow,” you think. Several minutes later Bowie declares, “Each to his own,” the instrumental tracks overlaid with stunning falsettos of “WILD” fade and the song ends. You may listen again. You may listen many times, you may read the lyrics. What is this song about? The answer is what makes the music we adore “personal” to each one of us. It is entirely up to you what it is about. You can defend music videos and MTV all you want, I could care less, but you will never convince me that MTV has not damaged music and those who watch it. To those like me who are disciplined to use video shows for finding “information,” tours, new releases and news, then it is relatively safe. I pity those however who are on a steady diet of MTV because you are exposing yourself to something which causes atrophy of the mind, and this is dangerous. Unfortunately it isn’t difficult to find people who have been stricken with this avoidable condition, if you just look around you, they are everywhere.

What MTV has basically done is robbed your thoughts. It has also stolen the adventures that lead to wonderful new discoveries when we listen to something. How? Well, you don’t think for the simple reason that you do not have to, MTV has removed every reason to use your mind because it TELLS you what to think. The songs which appear on MTV are exactly about what the video TELLS YOU THEY ARE ABOUT. What is terrifying to me is that the messages conveyed in ninety nine percent of these “works of art on celluloid,” rates as some of the most mindless drivel that I have ever encountered. I am at a loss as to how people can watch this shit day after day. Really at a loss. Sex. Women.. Yep, tits, ass, beautiful hair, full lips and all dressed up the same. The skill that costume designers must posses in the music video industry is how to get the least amount of clothes on a women so that all of her “attributes” are visible, yet cover enough so that the video does not get rated as pornographic and banned. The women’s “equal rights” organizations are hypocrites because they are “selective” in who they target. The magazines like Playboy, Penthouse and Hustler, as well as companies and advertising agencies who feature scantily clad females in their publications and advertising campaigns all come under attack. Does the music video industry? No. Why is that, because as far as I can determine they are the WORST offenders of portraying women as “objects.” Most women in these videos have probably been “manufactured” for the most part by the Dow Chemical Company who manufacturer 44 D’s, and are walking testimonials to the things that can be accomplished by the practitioners of plastic surgery. The bodies of these women are displayed in such a fashion so that they are viewed as “toys for boys,” and not as that of a “person.” In an attempt to further enhance the image of these women as “toys,” they are in most cases portrayed as having only enough of a brain to maintain life support. These “women,” when adorned with the most minimum amount of fabric legally allowed radiate one message only. The message is, “I bet you want to fuck me,”

Getting people interested in fucking something is an example of a brilliant marketing strategy used by the record labels, who are responsible for these videos. It isn’t just the women. Have you noticed that most front men for bands these days are “cute.” I have. If not, then make up and wardrobe try

their darndest to “fix” the problem. There is a reason for that as well, it is so they also send a message. The message? Well, it’s, “I bet you want to fuck me.” First, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no information at all from any research or studies that have been done by the advertising industry to support what I am going to say. It is my opinion and I base it on what I feel is common sense. I believe that the average person will devote much of their time and, pay close attention to things that they want to fuck. I also believe that the average person will allot a sizeable amount of their available cash to be used to purchase icons of things they want to fuck, if for some reason they are unable to get their hands on it. You see, the sex drive of teenagers and those in their twenties, the segment of the population targeted by MTV, will make them tuned in to these videos if they “like” what they see. In an effort to “get close” to the things they like, people will spend large amounts of money on icons which resemble these things, such as records, pictures, posters, videos and magazines. Record labels for The Beatles, Bay City Rollers, Backstreet Boys, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Spice Girls, and thousands more have used sex to sell the work of the artists they have under contract. Again, I do not get it. How can one watch this stuff for extended periods of time on a consistent bases. Boy loves girl, girl loves boy, girl gets boy, boy gets girl, boy leaves girl, girl leaves boy, girl cheats on boy, boy cheats on girl, girl misses boy, boy misses girl. On, and on and on it goes, the same redundant stories over and over again, and the only difference between them is that the cute boys and half naked mindless women are rotated for each video. Doesn’t this endless repetition become “tiring” after awhile? My exposure to these video stations is not governed by choice, but more because my mind can only take so much abuse.

The freedom of thought is the greatest tool an individual possesses because it allows a person to “go anywhere.” The progress made by scientists, inventions, medical breakthroughs, a better understanding of the universe and space exploration itself are all made possible by one thing, free thinking. Music, dance, theater, film, literature all have their roots in the same place, the realm of free thought. Free thought is the ability which allows us the gift to interpret music and the arts and it is decimated by MTV. Now, hear me out on this. You may think that I am over reacting to the effects that MTV has on people by destroying free thinking. Let me tell you that you would be quite correct, if it was ONLY MTV, but unfortunately this is not the case at all, and far from it as a matter of fact. There are many powerful things that we are exposed to on a daily basis which are just as bad, and in many in some cases much worse, than MTV. If you add up all of these things which have a detrimental effect on an individual’s ability, or their freedom to “stretch” out their imaginations, then you have a very serious problem. I am of the belief that this problem is not one that we are heading for, but one we already have. I believe also that the gravity of this problem is not benign, or one that is temporary when left unaddressed. My opinion is that instead this problem is an acute one and it is getting progressively more critical because for some reason it does not appear to be recognized as a problem in our society. What terrifies me however, is that I think this problem has been recognized, and as a severe one, yet the response has been to simply ignore it. If anyone wonders why this is such a concern to me, and should be to most, is the fact that with the loss of free thinking eventually comes the loss of “individuality,” and when these two are lost it means the demise, and eventual end of creativity. I do not believe that I have to go into the ramifications that a loss of creativity would have on society as a whole. The problem has already manifest itself quite clearly I believe in the arts, as I do not believe we have anything even close to the amount of quality output from artists compared to twenty years ago. There isn’t much “new” anymore, in any area, yet whole civilizations used to be built with the arts as their centerpiece. Bowie quipped in an interview I

have from 1981 saying, “Art is dead, so what the Hell can we do about it anyway.” I will not bother to explore the things that I am convinced have deeply harmed free thinking in our society as I could write a book about them, and truthfully I would really like to do that one day.

I greatly admire the artists who are able to successfully merge their music with film or video. The art of showing a collage of images in conjunction to music stimulates both the visual and audio senses, and can result in a very powerful emotional experience for the viewer. Now, I can hear some of you shouting that I am a hypocrite, accusing me of self contradiction because earlier I said that I basically loathed most music videos. Well, I do. What I am referring to are visual images that are used to create sensations while still leaving room for individual interpretation. Where as music videos tell you what to think by dictating a story, these “films” only add to the experience of individual interpretation by adding a visual experience. What is wonderful is that in most instances the visual images presented ARE ALSO open to individual interpretation. There are so few artists who do this so it is not easy to find names, but let me try. Okay, now. Hmmmmm? Let me see. Ummmm. There, David Bowie, that’s one. Have you seen the Heroes video?


To be added to again……………

Posted 18 June 2002


Images Part 32

a668f22d21e06367443e5e66e281f4a0These articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE” in


Part Thirty Two

I have said it many times that it is really necessary to devote the time required, no matter how much it is, to understand as much as you can about Low, Heroes and Lodger. The reason I gave for this is that if you do not have a good understanding of this work, then you are missing a lot more about the true “essence” of David Bowie, as a person, as well as an artist, than you could ever realize. This is true. Those albums, and I include in there Station To Station, Young Americans, Hunky Dory and a couple of others ARE ALL BOWIE. The rest of his work, save a few, contain mere scattered pieces of the “true” Bowie, as they had “ulterior motives” behind their making. They were not made just for the sake of personal expression through sound, as was the soul motivation for these albums.

I have come under fire for stating this more times than I can count, and all of it coming from newer Bowie listeners, or those who believe that my assertion is incorrect. They chalk up this statement I make as a matter of “personal opinion,” and not based on anything other than such.

Well, to those of you who believe this to be true I have this to say, and that is you are wrong. Dead wrong. The issue I make of the importance of understanding these albums to understand Bowie is NOT MY OPINION. Now, before you scoff at that may I remind you that I do not say things which I can’t back up, and you should know that by now if you are one who reads my articles. Let me say to ALL of those who have dumped on me over the years for sticking to my statement that you are about to get a rather rude awakening. Also, before I go on I want to make one thing perfectly clear to a few of you out there who had the “wisdom” to post your “brilliance” a while back on the news group, Now, as incomprehensible as this is to any real Bowie listener, I saw actual postings on this group from “visitors” who wanted to start a discussion as to whether Low was a “good” album. I responded by letting them know that for even “thinking” to question the relevance of Low that they had demonstrated to any real Bowie listener, that they in fact were first class morons who did not understand the first thing about Bowie, and never would based on that kind of question.

I came under fire of course for that. To those of you who attacked me for that, well, you attacked me for no reason because I was not wrong at all. I was right, and again, this I can prove. You were fools. I will just say this to all of you, the importance of these albums is NOT MY OPINION AT ALL, IT IS BOWIE’S. So, if you do not think that it is important to spend the time to understand these albums, or think that they can be “dismissed,” then leave ME out of it, go flame Bowie.

I closed out the last segment of Images by mentioning a quote of Bowie’s. Many of you after reading it may come to the same conclusion that I have, that this quote is one of the most sincerest, truthful, revealing, as well as one of the greatest importance when it comes to how he rates the work he produced during this period. As I described earlier, the conversation was about Low, Heroes and Lodger, and the person conducting the interview asked Bowie this question, “Were you aware of their importance (of those albums when you were making them?” Bowie replied by saying this, ” Yes, yes, yes. For whatever reason, for whatever confluence of circumstances, Tony, Brian and I created a powerful, anguished, sometimes euphoric language of sounds. In some ways, sadly, they really captured unlike anything else in that time, a sense of yearning for a future that we all knew would never come to pass. It is some of the best work that the three of us have ever done. Nothing

else sounded like those albums. Nothing else came close. If I never made another album it really wouldn’t matter now, my complete being is within those three. They are my DNA.”

Lodger was recorded by Christmas, all that was left were the lyrics to be written, and for Bowie and Visconti to do the final mixes Lodger was scheduled for a worldwide release in May of 1979. Bowie would not be spending the Christmas holidays at his home in Switzerland this year. He chose to go to his “other” home instead, the one in the Caribbean. Most are aware that Bowie had a permanent residence in Switzerland, however he had a second home as well, and this one he kept rather private. Bowie bought this home in either late 75 or early 76, I am not sure exactly when, and it is located on the Caribbean island of Mustique. Mustique is a very unique place, for several reasons that I will explain, and it is easy to see why Bowie chose to buy a home here. The island is located in the Eastern Caribbean, eighteen miles south of St. Vincent, and forms part of an area of islands called St. Vincent and The Grenadines. Mustique is small, fourteen hundred acres, one and a half miles wide, and three miles long. There are eighty five residences on the island, well, villas are a much more appropriate description, and roughly fifty of them are available for seasonal rentals. There is only one hotel, one guest house, a general store, a church, a “designer” boutique, a cafe, a bakery, and of course a bar as well. One thing you will not find however, as you do on most “tourist” beaches, is an endless stream of high pressure beach vendors selling everything from jewellery, to T- shirts, sea shells, cruise missiles, sun glasses, assault rifles and Scottish castles. You will also not find any traffic signals.

The ownership, and the way in which Mustique is governed is quite unique in my opinion, and unlike anything I have seen before. I think it is worth a mention because you may also find it interesting. First of all, Mustique is PRIVATELY owned, by a corporation which is called simply, The Mustique Company. The corporate address for the company is in St. Vincent. In 1989 the Government of St. Vincent & The Grenadines passed into law The Mustique Company Limited Act. This basically gave the company total control of the island, and left them to govern it anyway that they see fit. This law was rather “convenient” you see, because as it turns out one hundred percent of the shareholders of The Mustique Company just happen to be the residents, property owners, as well as those who own businesses on the island. Now, who usually regulates taxes? Right, the government. Well, on Mustique the residents ARE THE GOVERNMENT. So, guess what? That’s right. No income tax, no corporate tax, no capital gains tax, no gift tax and no “offshore” profit tax. It gets better too. The disclosure laws to guarantee privacy are the best in the world, so good as a matter of fact that their system has come under fire from the governments of a multitude of countries, due to the fact that their taxation departments are “stone walled” when it comes to getting information about anyone who has set themselves up in Mustique. The confidentiality laws in Mustique make Swiss banking privacy protection look second rate amateur in comparison. There are NO LEGAL DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS IN EXISTENCE in Mustique. What does this mean? Well, total anonymity, in other words NOBODY can get ANY information on what you own, or who owns what. You can own a company based in Mustique and there is no requirement for the filing of by-laws, or for the disclosure of who the directors are, the shareholders, your attorney, or anyone else who is related to the company. In addition any information on your trading activities, or your banking information will not be passed on to any Revenue Authority anywhere in the world. These laws are, and I quote from a financial report, “the most restrictive confidentiality laws on the planet.” Understand though, before you consider opening your own business here, you must have a

minimum of half a million dollars US to incorporate.

Getting to and from the island is a little bit of a hassle as there are no regular scheduled flights. This leaves you to fly in from Barbados either on a charter flight, or bring your own plane. If you don’t have one I suggest that you either borrow a friends or come by boat. I mean yacht. Oh, you can only fly in during the day also, another hassle. If you are willing to put up with these inconveniences I can guarantee that a visit to Mustique will afford you a unique opportunity to meet some interesting people who frequent the place. If you are a Rolling Stones fan then both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have homes there. Here is a quote from Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, “I was at a picnic on a beach on the island of Mustique just after Christmas, and I suddenly saw [drummer] Nick Mason on the other side, who I haven’t spoken to in fifteen years. And I thought, “Fuck, this is nonsense!” So I went up behind him and massaged his neck. He turned around, and he nearly fell on the floor when he saw who it was. He’s invited me to dinner, and I shall go, because we were very close friends all those years.” Princess Margaret used to hang out and party on Mustique, it was a favourite haunt of hers. Sean Connery and Raquel Welch frequent the island too. Tommy Hilfiger recently invited his friends to join him at his $40 million beach hut on Mustique to celebrate his 50th birthday.

If you have some vacation time coming and you happen to like the blues, you may wish to make a note of this. There is a round about Bowie connection to this as well. Every year, in January I believe, the island of Mustique hosts a blues festival. Here, lets do this. There we go, I just went and looked it up so you’ll know, and I wasn’t too far off as it turns out. The 2002 festival was held from January 23rd to February 6th. I was truly quite surprised when I discovered who the principal organizer of this event was because it was the last person I would ever expect. This is where the “Bowie” connection comes in. Now, Bowie is not involved with the festival in terms of organizing it, or appearing as a performer, as far as I know. I am not aware if he even attends them. There are two key people who are responsible for organizing the festival. The Producer of Mustique’s Annual Blues Festival is a gentleman by the name of Basil Charles, who is also the owner of Basil’s Bar, the only “watering hole” on the island. The other individual is the actual founder of the event, which she started seven years ago. She also serves as the Artistic Director. Her name is none other than, Dana Gillespie.

If you are tinkering with the notion of grabbing the family and heading off to Mustique for next year’s blues festival then you can thank me for saving you some work. Why? Well, I went and checked out the accommodations that are available so you can find one in your price range without having to look yourself. As I said, out of the eighty five residences on the island, there are around fifty that are available for seasonal rentals. They vary in size so therefore it should be extremely easy to find one that will suit you budget, I know I found several possibilities for myself without any difficulties. Since I do not know how big your family is, or if you will be vacationing with friends, so I decided to provide you with several alternatives. The prices of course vary slightly from Villa to Villa, but these are in the range that you can expect. Hey, that sounds like a good title for an album doesn’t it, Villa To Villa? There are some places “in between” the ones I have quoted as well. If it is just yourself and one other person you could get by with a two bedroom place, and that will set you back to the tune of $6,500.00. If it is you and another couple then $10,500.00 will get you into a comfortable four bedroom place. You would be looking in the neighbourhood of $16,000.00 should your require a six bedroom villa. If you are planning to make it a “special” event and decide to bring

along a few close friends, then you will not encounter any problems finding an adequate place to hold a few more bodies. A nine bedroom villa can be yours for $27,000.00. I am well aware that these prices could be considered the “purchase” price of homes in some less developed countries. I can assure you though that what I have quoted to you are not to buy these places, but merely to rent them. These prices are not for a year, and they are not for a month. What I quoted you is how much each of these places cost o rent for ONE WEEK. Yes, you are looking at an average price of $6,500, to over $27,000.00 per week, should you choose Mustique as your next holiday get away. On a positive note you may wish to know that reservations are not necessary to attend the Blues Festival. Now, even better is the fact that admission to the festival is free to guests on the island. With all the money you will save on the price of admission, you can easily afford to purchase the CD of the event which is sold each year. The proceeds from the sale of the CDs are donated to help the school children of St Vincent.

David Bowie’s residence was called Britannia Bay House. The house was decorated in a Balinese theme. No doubt some of the furnishings were purchased from a local boutique called Forever, which specializes in furnishings and other items which are made in Bali. If you ever make it to Mustique one day and have thoughts about possibly running into Bowie at Basil’s Bar, then let me tell you that you are probably not going to be very successful. I say this purely for the fact that Bowie sold his home there in 1995. The price he got for it was two million dollars. In 1978 Bowie spent Christmas and New Years on Mustique. On New Years Eve he went over to Mick Jagger’s, who was hosting a champagne party. After the holidays Bowie left for London to begin work on the mixing of Lodger. On February the 14th was the London premier of Bowie’s latest film, Just A Gigolo. As it turned out champagne would not be the order of the day in this case, the reason being that there was little to celebrate.

The invited guests were asked to dress in 1920’s style, or formal black tie to The Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square for the screening of Just A Gigolo. Bowie was in attendance that evening with his date Viv Lynn. Apparently Bowie did not feel that the “dress code” that the guests were asked to adhere to applied to him. I say this because Bowie, as well as his date, came to the film premier wearing Japanese Kimonos and wooden clogs. Unfortunately their clothes did not divert the film critic’s attention away from the movie, they saw it all, or as much as they could stomach of it anyway. Rarely does one hear of an actor described as, “embalmed in dead talent,” which were the exact words used on Bowie by The Sunday Telegraph. The Morning Star reported that Bowie, “exudes as much warmth as a fridge.” The Sunday Mirror concluded that Bowie was “completely miscast,” and going on to say that the film was, “all show and no substance.” The critics did not just have their sights set on Bowie, the other actors did not escape notice, and neither did director David Hemmings. The review from the Financial Times stated that Bowie, as well as the remainder of the cast, “fall like ninepins before the ham handed staging and the choppy, frantic, try anything editing.” These reviews, if you can believe it, happen to be the kinder ones written by those who did not like the film were the “kinder.” One review was rather surprising , this was the one which ran in the New Musical Express. It is surprising because this magazine has always openly supported Bowie’s work, which is evident by the articles about him. Most of what is written on Bowie over the years has been positive, no matter what is written in the “other” publications. They have quite often defended his work where others wouldn’t. In the case of Just A Gigolo however, New Musical Express was ruthless compared to their usual treatment of Bowie. This is an excerpt. “David’s dramatic ambitions

obviously far outweigh his abilities. Bowie might look the perfect part as a foppish Prussian gentleman turned gigolo traipsing through 1920’s Berlin, but he can’t play it. An illusion is burnt to a crisp every time he opens his mouth or tries to convey any depth or detail of character. Bowie’s efforts throughout are comically inept.” Bowie did not like the film either, calling it, “my 32 Elvis Presley films, all rolled into one.” That fact however did not matter, the bad reviews did not stop, he was literally hit with them coming from every angle and that took its toll on him. According to friends, although he “toughed it out” in front of the media, inside he was devastated.

I agree that this movie from a serious standpoint is one big fucking mess. It works however as a comedy, a “comedy of errors” that is. I think that it is grossly unfair though to ruthlessly attack Bowie’s capabilities as an actor. I will be the first one to say that Bowie has done more than his share of poor acting jobs, yet there have been some awesome moments slipped in among them. I still believe The Man Who Fell To Earth is overlooked, and a loss to those who do. Bowie is strikingly brilliant in the role of Thomas Jerome Newton, even considering the fact that he was fucked up on coke at the time, and it was his first real acting job. It is my view that the bad films were almost all poorly written, poorly directed and poorly acted by ALL OF THOSE INVOLVED, not just Bowie. It is entirely wrong to put the failure of a film entirely upon his shoulders, as if HE was the only one responsible for it. It is for this reason I feel that the New Musical Express , as well as a few others, were way out of line in their treatment of Bowie, especially to single him out as they did. It was wrong and unfair. Although I fail to understand how, Just A Gigolo actually received a few good reviews. One I read compared it to Cabaret, with Liza Minelli. Variety Magazine said Bowie acted his role with, “engaging appeal.” Film & Films magazine said the film ,”is an original and often deeply moving movie.” Mostly though, the movie was said to be “overkill.” It was pulled, mercifully, from theaters after only a few screenings, saving a lot of Bowie’s dignity in the process.

Do you know what? I really wish people would just stop for a moment and quit living for today, without looking at the past. Our past is our history, and without it there is no chance in Hell that you can understand today. My entire point is that without history one has no points of reference with which to make comparisons, and without comparisons it is absolutely impossible to even begin to know if something is good, bad or if what we are looking at is even relevant. Without the past there is no measurement of the future. I get into this a lot with those fans, who for some unforsaken reason, still fail to even begin to grasp just how important some of Bowie’s work actually was. if you take Low, Heroes, Lodger and compare them to what you can find on the shelves today of a record retailer it would be easy to proclaim that they are “nothing special” in terms of originality. Guess what? If you said this you would be correct for the most part. Why? Well, even though they may be of superior quality, being Bowie albums, they are not “original” by today’s standards. I could show a person HUNDREDS of albums in a store today which are very similar in musical style to Low and side two of Heroes. “Ambient” music now warrants an entire section in most major retailers. That is now. Now, about 1977. I am asking you roughly how many titles do you think were available in the “ambient” section of a record store? What is your guess on how many bands were writing in this manner? The first answer is zero, and the second is a few. There was NO AMBIENT, or NEW AGE SECTION in ANY STORE. Why? Because this type of music, save for a few unknown artists, DID NOT EVEN EXIST. What were people listening to instead in 77 and 78? The answer is DISCO. So, now that we know history then tell me this. If people were listening to disco in 77 and 78, and the approach to music incorporated by Bowie during this period did NOT EXIST, then exactly how relevant were these

two albums when they first appeared? If disco was the popular music of the time, then exactly how innovative were these albums when they came out compared to what people were listening to? Compared to what sold, do you feel that Bowie may have taken a bit of a “risk” by making these albums?

Since these albums were “firsts,” not by an artist, but firsts speaking in relation to THE ENTIRE CONCEPT OF WHAT MUSIC IS, they were important.

Not just important, important enough to alter the entire course of music history, these two albums changed music forever. Did it ever occur to you that the reason we have “ambient” music a DIRECT RESULT of the work done in the seventies by Bowie, Eno, Fripp and a few others. Where would artists like Gary Numan and a dozen others be without Bowie? The answer is non existent. These albums may be nothing important in your eyes if you just look at today, forgetting history. In my opinion however, by doing so you will never truly understand just how important this era was, and the profound effect it had on the future development and progression of music as a whole. For whatever value my opinion holds, let me say that it is well worth taking the time to understand the history of the period in relation to the work that Bowie released at the time. This is imperative if one wants to understand why much of Bowie’s work is so important. If you doubt me then I will prove my point.

There was another medium David Bowie explored in 1979 which stemmed from the making of Lodger. A few other artists had “dabbled” in this medium before, but record companies were extremely reluctant to invest their money in this area. Once again, if compared to the way things are today, what Bowie did wouldn’t be singled out, because like ambient music, it is now commonplace. It didn’t used to be that way, however, and if you study your history you will come to an amazing discovery, and that is just how much of a contribution Bowie made in this new field. What Bowie did was the same as what he did with much of his writing, he was a pioneer, and in the years to come there would not be one band or record company that would not follow in his footsteps. That my friends, is how important this bit of history is. That should suffice I believe to adequately illustrate my point. So, what also was it that Bowie did with Lodger that made it so important? Guess.


More scribble to follow sometime in the future……………….

Posted 15 June 2002

Images Part 31

DAVID-BOWIE-IGGY-POPThese articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE” in

Part Thirty One

The work continued. Bowie, along with his “hand picked” posse of vigilante musicians continued on their “anything goes” free for all. The focus again was on the music. In a contradiction to Bowie’s recording style, as I said earlier, the lyrics were left, and they would not be written in the studio this time.

Somebody had an idea. The idea was to take the song All The Young Dudes and play it backwards. Yep, backwards. Since ALL ideas, especially those that involved insanity were welcomed during the recording of Lodger, it was immediately accepted as something that should be tried. It was too. Not only was it tried, but Bowie liked what he heard and he used it for a track on the album. The mid section of the song Move On, well, it is actually All The Young Dudes played in reverse. There was another previously written song by Bowie which appeared as well on Lodger. I am referring to the song Red Money. The instrumental track of Red Money is identical to Sister Midnight, a song which Bowie wrote for Iggy Pop while they were living together in Berlin, and it appeared on his album Lust For Life. The lyrics and title of the song were rewritten by Bowie for the version that appears on Lodger. I personally do not mind Red Money, but Sister Midnight in my opinion is far superior. The fact that Red Money works well as a track on this album is an exception to the rule however. I say this because as foolish and illogical as it sounds, Bowie should NOT PERFORM SOME OF HIS OWN WORK.

“Huh?” You say? Yes, and I mean that. Bowie has written a lot of material and given it away while collaborating with other artists, most notably Iggy Pop. While in Berlin during the Low/ Heroes period Bowie co-wrote two albums with Iggy, Lust For Life, and The Idiot. Although Iggy is given co- writing credits on both albums, the truth is that the songs themselves were almost entirely written by Bowie. Most of you would be familiar I am sure with the song Lust For Life, made popular because of its appearance in the hit movie Trainspotting. This film surprisingly featured a considerable amount of music from Iggy Pop albums, and very refreshing in my opinion. Lust For Life was written by Bowie on a ukulele while he was laying on the floor in his Berlin apartment watching television. The rhythm for the song was copied from the tapping Morse Code beat of the theme from the Forces Network. The songs Bowie wrote for others are in many instances “classics” when performed by those he wrote them for. However, when Bowie decides to perform them himself, the results in most cases are beyond horrid. The word “sickening” applies quite well as a description too.

Now, you can suck on this. I may get some “hate mail” for what I am about to unload on you here, but quite frankly I do not really care, because what I am going to say is the truth. Period. If you can’t handle it, well, too fucking bad. You have my condolences. First of all, any serious Bowie listener probably owns, or should own, three Iggy Pop albums, Raw Power, Lust For Life and The Idiot. The reason I say this is because if you are serious about knowing all of Bowie’s work, you should own these because of the immense contribution he made to them. Raw Power features not only the handy work of David Bowie, but Mick Ronson as well. This was more or less a “breakthrough” album for Iggy which gained him some notoriety among the record buying public. This of course was due to the involvement of Bowie and Ronson, and the ensuing publicity. As far as The Idiot and Lust For Life, well, they could be classed as David Bowie albums really, and not just “albums” either. They are both CLASSICS, and it is no wonder either when you look at when they were made, and what Bowie was producing between 76 and 78. They stand up to anything.

It took the rest of the world twenty some odd years to discover what Bowie listeners had know since 1977, that Lust For Life was one kick ass tune. Well, the one that appeared on Iggy’s album. I do not recall where I got it, but I do believe it must have been sent to me by a person who was not an admirer of my writing, as I think that it was an attempt to “do away” with me on a somewhat “permanent” basis. I have a bootleg of Bowie performing a live version of Lust For Life. I do not know when, or where, it was recorded, however I do know that it is HIDEOUS beyond description to listen to. It is really, really awful. He croons the song as though it is a lounge act he is performing, you can almost picture the “tip jar” on top of the piano. I value my ears and this song as performed by him is an assault. Tonight in comparison is a blessing. He also had the audacity to perform the classic Iggy tune, I Wanna Be Your Dog, again with disastrous results. Why would he even think that you could make this into a “nice” little tune to hum along with. If you own Party then you know Bang Bang. You also know, being educated enough to compare, that it is destroyed completely when sung in falsetto by someone in a red suit, who is dancing the Tango in front of a big red plastic spider with glowing legs. I happen to like China Girl from Let’s Dance, basically because of the production work which is beyond perfect. The track is as slick, and as smooth as glass, so much so that you would be hard pressed to find a better “pop” sound anywhere on this planet anyway. It is unfair to compare them, because of style considerations, but for pure raw energy the Iggy version is untouchable, especially live. Not only can Bowie not pull off the songs he writes for others on his own solo albums, but the same is true for live performances. I am talking from experience here as I have seen Iggy more than a couple of times. One of those times was in 1977, with Bowie on piano.

As I said, I think Red Money works well. It is much more tolerable than the long winded rambling boring rendition of Sister Midnight that he lavished on unsuspecting audiences in 76. If you are familiar with Red Money you will recognize the lyric regarding the “small red box.” There is a

meaning to this line. Bowie was doing a considerable amount of painting around this time, and in many of his pictures this “small red box” would appear. It was painted in almost unconsciously. Bowie thought it to be a representation of “unresolved issues.” In my estimation I believe that in Bowie’s mind he believes that he is offering some sort of tribute, a note of recognition and respect, for a person when he rerecords their work. It is the thought that counts though when you honour someone, and this is why his cover versions should NEVER go beyond the “thinking” stage, because once recorded it is difficult to imagine that his intentions were to honour anyone. Two words I would like to see come to mind when Bowie considers recording other artists work. Those words, to quote Bowie are, “Project cancelled.”

Lodger, although there is a substantial number of Bowie listeners who find that the musical “style” displayed on the album is not to their taste, deserves respect for the various approaches to music that were accomplished on it. Simply put, that album is “all over the place.” It is the most diverse of Bowie’s albums when it comes to style. The rhythms throughout the tracks on the album alone deserve high credits. African Night Flight to name one. It easily matches Peter Gabriel’s Biko. Where else would you find an album with a track that has an African rhythm to it such as African Night Flight, and then two tracks later encounter something as Turkish sounding as Yassassin, to a reggae beat. The backing vocals on Look Back In Anger, I cautiously say that they are almost “Beatle style harmonies.” Bowie was aiming for a very German sound as the backing for Red Sails. Whether this was achieved I guess is a matter of opinion. What I do know is he is the only artist who would dare to overlay such a background with a Chinese sounding melody, talk of travels to the “hinterland,” and end it off with a few numbers and directions indicating that the hinterland is so fa, fa, far away, so fa-fa-fa-fa-fa. The departure from the conventional is nowhere more apparent than on DJ, and like Lodger itself, it too is overlooked for the most part. To be able to find words that would properly do justice to this song as a description would be a difficult task indeed. The song is absolutely brilliant, and stands as one of the most unique pieces ever composed by Bowie. The song, first off, is extremely appropriate for the time that it was written. One thing that is easily forgotten is the fact that DJ came out at a time when disco was all the rage, and DJ, in part anyway, exposes the entire “disco scene” for the foolishness it really was. I used to believe that most of what came out of the disco era was quite useless where music is involved, but then sometimes when I compare it to much of what I hear on the airwaves today, I am not so sure.

Think about this for a minute and then tell me if I am right. We all are aware that when it comes to Bowie’s work, especially the work produced during his really innovative phase in the mid to late seventies, the music critics seem to “miss the point.” That is not all they miss either, there is something else and you will notice it, well the absence of it being mentioned, in almost every review you will ever read. This oversight is common for reviews not on a few albums, but ALL OF THEM, no matter what year. I mean from 1969 right through until 2002. I am completely bewildered by the fact that I have never once seen a music critic mention the fact that Bowie happens to posses a remarkable voice. The man can actually sing. How this manages to escape these experts lends credence to the theory held by most Bowie listeners that they are in fact all fucking deaf, as well as stupid. The vocals on one particular track from Lodger are so ignored in my opinion that it would be better if they didn’t exist. I say this because those who ignore them do not deserve them. Ooops, there I go again, a few more well placed comments aimed at winning a popularity contest. The power of Bowie’s voice that is demonstrated in his ability to hold some of the notes for the length of

time he does on Fantastic Voyage is astounding, to say the least. Calling Bowie a rock singer is something that I avoid, and I detest hearing that term used on him. The reason is that it is rather demeaning to take such a brilliant artist, and “dump” him in a category with every other rock singer. Well, since the media sticks him in there anyway, let me say this. If you compare David Bowie’s vocal abilities with the rest of the “singers” out there, the truth is that ninety nine and a half percent of them would choke to death before they could match a quarter of the vocal range he is capable of, and they would suffocate if they tried to hold a note half as long as he is able to. Hmmmm? How does anyone miss that, especially those “experts?”

It has been argued that Lodger is an album which divides Bowie fans into three groups, those who see it to be a truly brilliant album, and yet severely underrated, those who are indifferent towards it and those who do not give it very high marks compared to other Bowie albums. Bowie himself raised a good point once saying that a lot of fans were under the impression that the “process” he used with Eno, and the way that they approached music, was somehow different when making Lodger, compared to Low and Heroes. I believe that this is a very relevant point due to the fact that Lodger seems to be a complete departure from the work that appeared on the two previous albums. Well, according to Bowie my guess would be incorrect, because according to him the same approach was used for all three albums. He did however provide a reason why he thought fans would tend to think that Lodger was different. He explained that in his opinion, ” it’s the lack of instrumentals that give you the impression that our process was different. It really wasn’t though.” I reported earlier in this piece that I was not aware of how the idea came about to record All The Young Dudes backwards. Well, since I wrote that several hours ago I have found the answer. May I share it?

As it turns out the idea was “stumbled” upon by Bowie. Here is how he said it happened, “I had put one of my reel to reel tapes on backwards by mistake and really quite liked the melody it created. So I played quite a few more in this fashion and chose five or six that were really quite compelling. Dudes was the only one to make the album, as I didn’t want to abandon the ‘normal’ writing I was doing completely. But it was a worthwhile exercise in my mind. It has the same title as the song I wrote for Iggy. But as the one for Jim was a working title, I passed it onto the Lodger song.” The credits on the album Lodger reveal that one of Brian Eno’s contributions was for his use of a “Cricket Menace.” Bowie revealed the nature of this “instrument” in this fashion. He explained, “Little crickety sounds that Brian produced from a combination of my drum machine ( I would and still do, use one to write with when I’m on my own) and his ‘briefcase’ synth. You can hear them on African Nightflight.” There, you now have something “new” to listen for the next time you decide to give Lodger a spin. Now, aren’t I helpful? <LOL>

This fact I found out while doing some research for this particular instalment of Images. Truthfully, I have NEVER heard this complaint before about Lodger. .Let me ask you all first. What is your opinion of the way Tony Visconti and Bowie mixed the final tapes for Lodger? My own personal opinion is that I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. I think the sound is well balanced, I don’t know of any place off hand where the sound is muddy, and I find overall that the highs and lows are well equalized throughout the entire album. Apparently, I have discovered that not all people share this view. I have learned that there is a substantial number of Bowie listeners who are of the opinion that the final mix on Lodger leaves a lot to be desired. This really came as a surprise to me, so I decided to do a little “digging” to find out what more I could. Well, what I found was the last thing in the world I

ever expected. You see, as it turns out, Bowie listeners are not the only ones who believe that the mixing of Lodger could have been better, David Bowie thinks so too. There is another person as well who is not overly pleased with the mix. This name, coupled with Bowie’s, will surely come as a surprise to you. Ready? Tony Visconti. Let me make it clear that I would not have stated Bowie or Visconti’s opinion of the mix on Lodger if the source of the information was an article that someone had written, and this just happened to get mentioned. I thought it was necessary to include this information because Bowie’s own personal views concerning his work are always important for an article such as this one, and so are the views of others who are directly involved in the recording process, such as Tony Visconti. The source for this information was not “second hand,” I can assure you. It came from a decent source, Bowie. This quote is from an interview I discovered while I was looking for some opinions about the mixing of Lodger. I wanted to know if there were in fact many people who did not like the way the final version of Lodger was mixed. Bowie said, ” I think Tony and I would both agree that we didn’t take enough care mixing. This had a lot to do with my being distracted by personal events in my life and I think Tony lost heart a little because it never came together as easily as both Low and Heroes had. I would still maintain though that there are a number of really important ideas on Lodger. If I had more time I would explore them for you but you can probably pick them out as easily.”

I want to close this part of Images by talking about a quote from Bowie that I know every one of you will enjoy because it is a very revealing. This quote is one of those that you just know comes straight from his heart. It is powerful, and powerful because it is said with conviction. IT IS BOWIE TALKING, AND THIS IS TRUTHFULLY WHAT HE BELIEVED.

The conversation was about Low, Heroes and Lodger. The person conducting the interview asked Bowie this question, “Were you aware of their importance (of those albums when you were making them?”

Do you know what Bowie’s answer was? No?
I’ll tell you next time.



To be blah, blah, blah, blah………………………….

Posted 8 June 2002

Images Part 30

bowie-snl-2These articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE” in

Part Thirty 

As the recording sessions for Lodger progressed it basically became a “free for all.” There were pretty much no restrictions imposed as far as it went to trying something new. Bowie certainly had the right collaborator in Brian Eno if experimentation was the name of the game because Eno was quite content when it came to wading into unknown waters. His work with Roxy Music on their first two albums as well as his solo material is beyond legendary. There some of you, well possibly many, who are not very familiar with Eno, other than his work with Bowie, or may have heard some of his material and it was not to your liking.. If either of these is the case I wish to offer you a small suggestion that in my opinion you can’t lose on. If you find some of Eno’s work a bit too “out there” for your taste do not be bashful about admitting it, I too find some of his work a bit “far fetched,” and as a result I do not own anywhere close to a complete catalog of his released work. I can safely divide Eno’s work into several categories, accessible, inaccessible and so highly inaccessible that you require a doctorate degree in the bizarre to attempt to decipher it. Rest assured that it is not a “black mark” on you to shy away from his inaccessible works. I am a rather fond admirer of Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew and Eno, but admittedly I do have a line with regards to what I will tolerate of their “experiments,” and often they cross it. If journeys into the realm of the unknown are not for you that is fine, to each his own. However, DO NOT let this steer you away from Eno’s work. PLEASE! Now, although it is far from the designation of commercial, there is some work by Eno that is extremely brilliant, as well as EASILY ACCESSIBLE to ANY LISTENER. It is these pieces I want to talk about for a minute.

Listen. If you are wary about trusting my opinion on music, then would you trust Bowie’s? If so, I want you to know that David Bowie literally RAVED about Roxy Music in many interviews after their debut album was released in 1972. This was not a passing fancy either, as he was still raving about them five years later in 77, on television to be exact, when he was being interviewed by Dinah Shore. I am adamant about this. If you do not own the debut album by Roxy Music then it is IMPERATIVE THAT YOU BUY IT WITHOUT FURTHER HESITATION! BUY IT TODAY! The album, simply titled Roxy Music, is the work of a collection of geniuses and is truly one of the most brilliant albums ever made, by anyone. The music on this album rates up there with the most important ever made, it was a breakthrough in modern music, it is a true “classic.” Every person should own this album, even more so if you are a Bowie listener, and I beg you to buy it. This is an excellent way to hear the mastery of not only Eno, but Andy MacKay, Phil Manzanara, Paul Thompson and Brian Ferry on a very accessible

album. I rarely attempt to “push” an album on anyone, but this is the exception to the rule. I am so confident about this album that I do not even remotely consider any repercussions from those who take my advice and then after believe that I “mislead” them. I will even go this far. Buy the fucking thing and listen to it six times, ON HEADPHONES in a place you will not be disturbed. Now, if after doing that you dislike it, you may post your thoughts about my music recommendations on, which is where I normally “hang out.” If I am not there believe me, any of the regulars can find me, and as a matter of fact the most mentally unstable and volatile ones know where I live. In addition, providing there are is semi reasonable amount of complaints, I will promise to publicly state on the group that my recommendations in music are not that good and I will NEVER AGAIN recommend an album in this fashion. Okay? Deal? Just one final remark, if you do not bother to buy this album then you are the one losing, you are selling yourself short, and I really mean that. I do. Trust me.


Okay, here it comes and you have been warned. I have a theory I want to discuss. This “theory” I am sure, as most of my “theories” are, will be greeted with. “Oh no, not again,” coupled with a great deal of dismay and disappointment by most of you. Many fans are adamant in their belief that this album was the LAST real venture into innovative music that Bowie attempted, and the second to last great album he would ever produce. Many say that the “END” came with Scary Monsters. Is there a reason for this? I think so. Look at this quote from Bowie on the making of Low, Heroes and Lodger. He said, “There was no need to set parameters.” Isn’t that interesting, “no parameters?” That statement makes it quite apparent that Bowie was willing to go just about anywhere with his work, without the recognition of any borders, and without the acceptance of any limitations? Why? Why was it like that then? Why didn’t he continue working in this fashion? I believe that we have Switzerland, MainMan, Tony Defries, Angie, RCA, Isolar and Bowie to thank for this period and the loss of only ONE of them caused the “end” to arrive in 1980. I believe that I have some extremely powerful evidence to support my opinion as a matter of fact, not only that, it makes sense as well. Oh, there was one more item which was instrumental in the making of these albums that I almost forgot to mention. It is called REVENGE!

Now, first of all, we must go back a bit in time, just prior to 1976, to be exact. It is necessary to look at what was influencing his life, as well as his work, up to, and during that time frame. Under the control, and control is the word, of MainMan and Defries Bowie had a much different working environment. One of “pressure.” As I discussed in earlier segments of this series, Images, Defries was extremely demanding of Bowie. How much, if you have not read the previous instalments. Well, so demanding that Bowie had little, or NO CONTROL WHATSOEVER, in various areas of his life and his work. Defries handled the income, expenses, marketing, record deals, distribution, tours, publishing, as well as handled all of Bowie’s “personal” needs such as housing, food and spending money. It was ALL controlled by Tony Defries. This type of lifestyle may have relieved Bowie from the mundane world of having to actually be “responsible” for yourself, in the sense of having to live a normal life

of paying bills, shopping for your necessities, budgeting, money worries and so forth. However, it can be an extremely dangerous way to live, and in Bowie’s case it created something that hurt him in too many ways to count. It created “dependency.” Bowie lived not the way he wanted to, but the way OTHERS wanted him to. Although provided for well, he was in fact helpless, and obligated to the demands of his “keepers,” so to speak. Then there were the pressures which he very likely exerted on himself. The feeling of not knowing what is going on around you, as well as what is happening in your own life. The feeling of having no control over anything that effects your life.

The “external” worries came from Defries. David Bowie was vital to Tony Defries, as INCOME, that is. Bowie was the “golden goose,” a “cash cow,” and the source of enough money to build the empire he craved. Defries talked once about MainMan becoming the largest management agency for artists in the entire world, saying he may one day EVEN BUY RCA! Having expectations set this high made Defries put pressure on Bowie to make music THAT SOLD. It wasn’t just the record sales either, he expected the tours had to draw sell out crowds, and he was intent on also making Bowie a “movie” star, an international celebrity, a household name. All that was expected of Bowie was to do it. ALL OF IT. Money? There wasn’t any, for Bowie that is. He lived on handouts from Defries, and if Defries didn’t come through then he had no alternative, he turned to his “friends.” He was not “broke” per se, it was worse. He was in debt. Angie was also a concern, the marriage by this point was long over and there was a divorce looming. This added to the worries as there was custody of their son Joey at stake, and a possible financial settlement to Angie that could have gone well into a million plus dollars. Then the bottom all fell out and David Bowie’s world collapsed all around him. He awoke from a dream, to a living nightmare.

Young Americans could not be released due to a court injunction obtained by Tony Defries, citing breach of contract. Bowie was now the subject of a lawsuit, which if it went to court, he would not have a hope of winning. Bowie learned in no uncertain terms also was that what he “thought” was the truth, and what was really the truth were very different. The world Bowie woke up from was one of fantasy, this was reality. The reality was that he owned nothing at all, no company, no house, no car and no money. He didn’t even own any of his own work, his music, and everything else connected to it all belonged to Tony Defries. Under his personal services contract, it turned out he discovered, that HE WAS PERSONALLY OWNED BY DEFRIES, and this contract was effective FOREVER. It had no termination date on it at all. David Bowie is broke and living off of friends, he can no longer work, and all of those people who “looked after” him are now gone. He has a problem.

Okay, did you follow me so far? Listen, this part is really important. Now, think of what happened to Bowie in the space of under a year, from 1975 going into 1976. RCA saved his ass, and look at what he got from it; the benefits to him personally were incredible. How so? He was not broke anymore as he got a lump sum payment of three hundred thousand dollars from MainMan, which was actually paid by RCA as they agreed to cover MainMan’s debts. This was more money than he had ever seen before. In addition he no longer had to pay Defries fifty percent of his earnings after expenses. It was now sixteen percent, but the important part is that he no longer paid any expenses, which by supporting the lifestyles of a host of others such as Defries, Iggy and every employee at MainMan, not only took every cent he earned, it put him in debt. He got control of his work back, including the publishing, which meant the royalties generated from these sources now went mostly to him. In addition, he would now receive ninety five percent of the revenues from his tours,

including the merchandising. Simply put, Tony Defries no longer “OWNED” David Bowie. The divorce settlement went totally in his favour.

Switzerland as well as Isolar played an important role as well, extremely important to be exact. I will say that the most brilliant business move ever made by David Bowie was when he made the decision to manage his own affairs and opened Isolar in order to do so. This move has allowed him to save untold millions over the years. Where does Switzerland fit in? Well, because of his residency status Bowie could take full advantage of Swiss tax laws, and by doing so with the aid of holding companies, it allowed him to keep all the money he was now saving. By the completion of the Station To Station tour Bowie was worth well over a million dollars, between three to four million to be a little more exact. Here is the point I want to make. Bowie went from being in debt to becoming a multi millionaire in a little over a year. On top of that, what problems did he have now that would adversely affect his life? The answer is NONE! The dream finally came true, Bowie MADE IT, for the first time in his life he had it ALL! He had more actually than he ever thought possible. He said in an interview done in 76 that he was “making obscene amounts of money.” The fact that I need to illustrate my opinion is this, Bowie did not need a damn thing, and what he had with RCA allowed him to make Low, Heroes, Lodger as well as Scary Monsters. What he had with RCA was of major importance, it was the KEY TO THE WHOLE THING. Really, it was.

Yes, I firmly believe the secret lay with RCA. What did he have that was so vital? The answer is a signed contract to provide them with five albums. That’s right, a contract, and the timing of it was all too perfect. It came out of his experiences with MainMan no doubt but you can be fucking sure Bowie now paid a little more attention to the contracts he signed. Bowie now actually obtained legal advice as to know what the terms of a contract were BEFORE he signed it, instead of finding out the hard way after. You can bet your ass the contract he signed with RCA, once they got him released from the clutches of Defries, for the most part anyway, had all the basses covered. Oh, and not just covered either, but covered as much as possible in HIS FAVOUR, which is another reason we got these albums. Now if you add in REVENGE to all of this then my case is made. That is how Bowie was able to make the music he did from 1976 until 1980. Do you agree?

Okay, then let me briefly summarize the point I am making if you do not see where I am coming from on this. Bowie at this point in his career, 1976 until 1980, had EVERYTHING he wanted, he was happy and content. During this time he had few problems to deal with as the major crisis he had to contend with in the past were all resolved. The battle with Michael Lippman over a discrepancy in the percentage he took during his short stint as Bowie’s manager, was pale in comparison to the recent ordeals he faced at the time. The Lippman thing was settled quickly, and without much grief anyway. Bowie was now FREE, happy, content and in his own eyes very wealthy as well. He did however have ONE major obligation he had to fulfil, and this obligation was to RCA. He had to give them five albums, and that was IT. There was nothing more. It is my opinion, based on these facts, that because Bowie had control of his affairs with little to worry about, and the fact he was financially set, allowed him to do whatever he wanted artistically. He could not only do what he wanted, but do it WITHOUT the concern for what ANYONE ELSE THOUGHT OF IT, INCLUDING his listeners and RCA. To put it bluntly, Bowie didn’t give a fuck, at all. He didn’t need the money, or anything else for that matter, so why would he care if anyone bought his albums or not? He did however deeply care about one thing in particular, and that was doing what HE WANTED TO DO

artistically, free from ANY INTERFERENCE, especially from his label, or anyone who had, as Defries did, ulterior motives. If you look at his work over these years, and his “nothing is taboo” attitude coupled with his behavior, it lends a great deal of weight to my opinion I believe. The contract he had with RCA was vital to the making of these albums, as I said before, in ONE major way. It had to do with a clause that was written in Bowie’s contract with regards to the distribution of his work. The importance of this clause can NEVER BE UNDERSTATED. EVER. Why is that you wonder? Well, let me put it to you this way, if this clause did not exist in Bowie’s contract with RCA you NEVER would have heard Low, and that is a FACT. In all probability you never would have heard Heroes either. This clause said that RCA was LEGALLY OBLIGATED to RELEASE what Bowie GAVE THEM as an album under the terms of the contract, they had no right to “edit” his work, or prevent its distribution. If you recall I stated in an earlier instalment of Images that RCA refused to release Low unless Bowie changed some of the tracks to suit them. It was this clause that literally “forced” RCA into releasing it, and if they had their way Low would still be sitting somewhere, on tape and collecting dust. So, what this clause did was remove any risk that Bowie’s work would be interpreted as so un commercial that it would never be heard by an audience. He was GUARANTEED an audience, no matter what he wrote.

Revenge is sweet. Well, sweet to the ears anyway if you are one who just happens to like Bowie’s work from 76 to 80. It was revenge you know, or partially anyway. Bowie’s “spats” with RCA are legendary, and they went on continuously for one reason or another. The truth is David Bowie never forgave RCA for the treatment they gave what he maintains is his best, and personally his most valued work, Low. Bowie was extremely proud of Low, and the fact that he had to battle with his label to even get them to release it was a “personal” insult. Whether right or wrong, it was Bowie’s contention that he got poor support artistically from RCA. You can add to that many other squabbles. The most recent bickering between the two at the time Lodger was being made was over the newly released album, Peter And The Wolf, on which Bowie provided the narration. Bowie was apparently absolutely furious when he discovered that Peter Ustinov and Alec Guinness were RCA’s FIRST two choices to do the narration on the album. They both declined the offer so they asked Bowie. He did not like being third choice. Every time they fought it pushed Bowie to do his own thing even more, to punish RCA, and he did.

It was all of these factors combined that gave us some of the greatest music ever made. It would not last however. Why? Well, the way I see it Bowie was no longer satisfied with being just “comfortable” and making music. He wanted more, much more, and as a result of his wants we got much less. That is something I will talk about in length, but not now. Later. There is a bit more I wish to say about Lodger first, so please bear with me. Alright?


To be you know what…………….

Posted 29 May 2002

Images Part 29

These articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE”
in the newsgroup:

Part Twenty Nine

Would you like to hear something profound? Something amazing? Something that is unheard of today? Well? Okay, I will let you in on it. While making Lodger Bowie sent a driver into town to go to the local music shop in order to borrow three mandolins. These three mandolins appear on Fantastic Voyage, played by Adrian Belew, Tony Visconti and Simon House. Get it? MANDOLINS! Bowie got mandolins!

After reading the above statement I am quite confident that there is a substantial contingent of those who are reading this with the thoughts in your minds that the quality of my drugs must have taken a drastic nosedive. No, the quality is fine, if it isn’t I take them back. If you happen to be slightly curious about what the Hell I am talking about I will explain. We live in a modern age, we have electricity. Many things were born out of the electrical age, one of them being electronics. There is not one single area of our lives that has not been impacted by the advances made in the field of electronics, including the music we listen to. My view is that the integration of electronics into the making of music has been in some ways an enormous benefit and in many ways a plague. Unfortunately, from what I understand, plagues have a tendency to spread. Electronics allowed many of the processes in the making, recording, engineering and playback of music to become digital, thus allowing the joining of music, and the computer. This is my opinion that I am about to voice I admit, however, I am aware of many others who share it as well, so I am not alone.

I believe that from the recording, engineering and playback side of things that electronics have in a lot of ways greatly enhanced music. Certainly from the recording end we seem to get a much better product. I am unable to go into specifics, or any great detail about all the recording equipment that has been effected, or re development due to electronics, as I am unqualified in that area. Those answers are best left to “wizards” such as Jimmy Smith on our news group. What I do know however from talking to those in the know is that things that were never thought possible in the recording studio, are now quite easily possible. I do have ears though, and I know the sound has improved on what you buy now a days, for the most part anyway.

<hiss hiss> Once there <pop> were mountains <hiss> on mountains <sss> And once there were sun birds to <pop> soar with <scrrratch> could never be down <pop> <sss> Got to keep searching and searching Oh, what will I be believing and <hiss> who will connect me with love? Wonder who, wonder who, wonder<pop, pop, (JUMP), you sought fortune, evasive and shy? Drink to the men who protect you and I Drink, drink, <pop, pop, pop>drain your glass, raise your glass high.

Shit, time to buy a new copy of Station To Station. I left the fucking thing out of the jacket last night. Damn good party though. Sound familiar? I imagine it does to some of you. Ahh, the vinyl days. Scary Monsters cost me around $8.00 in 81 for a North American pressing. The pops, hisses, background noise and the crackling overtones on the album were free. In comparison my Japanese pressing of Scary Monsters cost me around $22.00 in 81. The pops, hisses, background noise and the crackling overtones were not available therefore not included. The domestic, Canadian pressing to be exact, of Low I originally bought was BEYOND disgusting in audio quality and so was the pressing from the States. My Japanese vinyl was much better, but still nowhere near as good as it should have been. It was a real nightmare to hear the “potential” in the sound of Low, but being unable to

ever access it. FRUSTRATING! I do recall however the tingle in my spine, the hair on my entire head sticking straight up and the uncontrollable seizure I had that slammed me to the floor when I heard the first few notes of Speed Of Life from this new thing called a compact disk. Finally I thought, I can FINALLY HEAR LOW as it was intended to be heard. As for the playback quality of music, the digital recordings have been a true blessing. I know that quality as far as what is best, whether it be vinyl, CD, re-masters as well as the different recordings from the various labels, are all up to each individual person. It is a matter of personal preference, but I think that most will agree that many recordings have been vastly improved due to digital re-mastering. One thing I do know though is this. I have purchased more copies of Station To Station in the past 26 years than there are dollars in Bowie’s bank account. This makes me then a self appointed expert on the various issues and re- issues of this boring, crappy, unimaginative and lifeless album. Therefore I can state with the highest authority that the Ryko AU20 digital re-master of Station To Station is by far the best in sound quality that there is and most who have heard it agree. I will not listen to that album on anything less. There are a few exceptions though regarding some of the digital remakes of older albums. I have heard cases where the vinyl originals are preferable in quality. Sometimes the re-equalization has left the sound “flat” or some of the instrument sounds have been lost. I have heard this from a few others and I have to agree, I find Ziggy Stardust better on vinyl than on CD.

Most people have some sort of an opinion to offer when it comes to napalm, Cruise Missiles, ICBMS, artillery shells, land mines, and other weapons. I hold the same opinion regarding nuclear weapons, and other devices designed for mass destruction, as I do regarding the use of electronic devices to make music. It depends on whose hands they are in. I delight actually in seeing the results which come from keyboards, guitar synthesizers and various other sound producing electronic wonders when they fall into the hands of those who possess superior skills as musicians. I mean the ones who actually have talent and can play. Is there a finer sight than to see the graceful yet lightning quick hands of a man such as Keith Emerson perform a ten fingered ballet on a set of ivories protruding from a Hammond. Equally as impressive, although in a much more moderated ambiance, is the joy of being swept away to the vibrations emanating from an Eno album, especially when accompanied by the masterful licks, notes and temperaments coming from the guitar of Robert Fripp. One is left to marvel at the sounds of elephants, rhinos, Young Lions and Big Electric Cats which pour from the strings and whammy bar under the guidance of Adrian Belew. This electronic wizardry allows Tony Levin to take you to meet Satori In Tangier. These “gadgets” in the hands of musicians who are proficient become a tool that makes it possible to EXTEND their reach into areas that before they could only envision, and not produce. As a result of them these artists can give us so much more in “adventurous” music, and other art forms. WE are the WINNERS because of this. Remember it was the chips, dials, pedals and keyboards that gave us Low, Heroes, Lodger, Outside and much much more.

Electronics, like weapons, in the hands of the evil often produce devastation and death. It did it to music in many cases, it literally KILLED not only it, but the MUSICIAN as well. Now, you listen to me and understand this, HIP HOP, TECHNO, INDUSTRIAL THRASH, RAP as well as ANYTHING that resembles their sound IS NOT FUCKING MUSIC. HEAR ME? I will repeat it once more, this stuff IS NOT MUSIC! PERIOD! END OF STORY!

I must pause the narrative here to say this… It was David Bowie himself who said “I do not begrudge an artist for finding an audience”. In other words, if someone finds meaning in a piece of art. If they are moved and it speaks to them in some way then it is not wrong. It has value. While AlaDINsaNE certainly is entitled to an opinion he has no right to tell someone that their art is invalid. Now, as Snoop Dogg says, “back to the lesson at hand”.

If you think scratching a vinyl LP on a turntable, or the repetitive drone of a sequencer coupled with a programmed drum machine qualifies as a definition for music then I truly do pity you. If it is possible for you to take some friendly advice then I will tell

you that it is time for you to raise your standards and start thinking on a higher level. This stuff does nothing to enrich your mind and expand your horizons as true art does, and unless you strive to experience the beauty of it, you will miss one of the great joys of life. Truthfully though, I personally have nothing negative at all to say about Hip Hop, Techno, Industrial or any other type of “computer generated.” thumps, and I will gladly listen to it, under the RIGHT circumstances. You see, although it is NOT MUSIC, it is GREAT TO DANCE TO, and I go out sometimes to clubs for that purpose, oh, and to get shit faced as well. The objection I have is when it is referred to as music, when in fact it is really only a ‘primal” beat to move to. Music it may be to a hill tribe, but music as art? NO.

Please help me. I would like to know how long one studies to learn how to be proficient on a musical instrument before they can go on and learn how to plug in a sequencer, drum machine or other electronic device and program it to play? It’s okay, I already got the answer from someone. If you do not know let me tell you that musical training, surprisingly I may add, IS NOT REQUIRED AT ALL in order to operate these things. Now, in addition to this I learned something that is remarkable. As it turns out your AVERAGE person, with a bit of persistence, could quite easily learn to operate these machines and make noise. There is very little skill required at all to produce “music” with the aid of these advances in human technology. The operation of these devices to make “music” by those unskilled in the art of playing an instrument is quite common as a matter of fact. Really. How do I know? Well, it was really easy actually, all I did was turn on my radio. I believe that it is a sad comment on our so called “progressive” society when we allow talented artists to be replaced by machines. Many of these so called “artists” can hide in a studio behind a machine and “appear skilled” on a recording yet really posses no talent. I have seen it personally too. I was not a devoted listener by any means, but I did buy several albums by New Order, who are a “classic” techno band from the eighties. I had an opportunity to see them live in a very small venue and it rates as the absolute WORST concert I have ever had to suffer through. I only suffered for half of the gig because I walked out, I couldn’t take it anymore. They were ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC due to the fact that they simply had no ability to play any instruments, what was on their albums was the work of a computer.

Do you see my point? About the mandolins I mean. You see, those mandolins you hear on Fantastic Voyage are special. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE REAL, that is why. Someone PLAYED them. The sound of those mandolins could have been created artificially with the use of electronics but they were not. As a true artist Bowie would not settle for anything but the original sound, a sound created by the work of a SKILLED musician. He did not have to do this, most could not have heard the difference, but he did. This is one thing I have always praised Bowie for, he does not, and he will not, ever compromise when it comes to what he produces. This is very true, even the crap he produces at times is always good quality crap. I have always believed that one reason that Bowie’s music is so incredible is due to the fact that he puts so much effort into it, and he will not settle for anything less than what he wants. There have been many who have worked with Bowie for one simple reason, the reason is that Bowie wanted a “certain sound” and he went and got those who he could get it from. This is true in every minute detail of his work. Others probably would have used a machine to get the sound, not Bowie however, the hand claps on Station To Station happen to be real.

Speaking of Fantastic Voyage. That track came out of a jam session, and out of the same jam session another song was born as well. You know it as Boys Keep Swinging,

Uh, oh. Damn, I did it again. I got sidetracked. I getting known for this aren’t I. Sorry. Let’s get back to the experimentation that was done on Lodger because I have lots more to tell you. Okay?


To Be etc etc…………………..

Posted 25 May 2002


Images Part 28

These articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE”
in the newsgroup:

Part Twenty Eight


I am just as guilty as everyone else, calling Low and Heroes “experimental” albums. Now, although they were different when compared to Bowie’s previous work, a vast departure is more like it, they were adventurous. Bowie definitely dipped his hand into uncharted territory as far as his work was concerned, but parts of this territory had been previously mapped out by other artists. The music was I readily admit “new,” but was it really “experimental.” Well, that point is debatable in my opinion for this reason. If you look at the sessions for Heroes and Low you will discover that there was not a great deal of “new” techniques incorporated in to the recording process. I concede that there were a “few” things done, such as the “gating” of the microphones to get the vocal effects on Heroes, that were never attempted before. There was in my opinion however, not enough recording innovation to truly label those albums as experimental. I came to this conclusion by comparing these albums to another piece of Bowie’s work. I compared them to what I believe to be a truly experimental album, Bowie’s most experimental by the way. I compared them both to Lodger.

Overlooked? Yes, I think so. I never see much written about it. Misunderstood? Again, I believe so, or maybe what is there just isn’t recognized. It may be that many do not give it much serious thought, not enough anyway to attempt to really understand it. I say this because I rarely ever hear Lodger mentioned. I never see it surface it as a topic of discussion, it appears that everyone knows it’s there, but it just doesn’t seem to merit much additional attention. Truthfully, I fell into that bracket for years. There are some tracks on Lodger I think are amazing, Look Back In Anger has always been one of my favourites, as well as Red Sails and the vocals on Fantastic Voyage rate among the best work. There are some tracks as well that I do not particularly like. For years I just considered Lodger another great Bowie album, but stopped short of thinking it was “special” in a way that others were not. I felt this way for years until one day I read an article on the making of it. That article, coupled with some others I dug up, along with a few interviews with Bowie and the other musicians who contributed to it, really opened my eyes. After what I read I never looked at that album the same way, I gained a whole new respect for it, and this respect is well deserved.

Mountain Studios could almost be considered cramped. Small, in terms of the average studio size, and nestled in the Swiss Alps on the shore of Lake Geneva. Bowie had already been at work for several days with Carlos Alomar, Dennis Davis and George Murray before the remainder of the band arrived. The four of them had been busy laying down some rhythm tracks. By the time they arrived the rough framework for two songs, “This Tangled Web” and “Portrait Of The Artist” were complete. These songs later were re titled and appeared on Lodger as Yassassin and Red Sails. Usually completing everything in the studio, Bowie would work differently this time. The bulk of the lyrics would not be written in the studio during the recording of the album, which was standard procedure for Bowie, but left until early 1979 to be written in New York. This was quite a departure from the way Bowie ALWAYS worked. There would be many “departures” where this album was concerned, and radical ones no less.

Bowie and Eno. This time it would be different. Eno had very little input as to the way Low was recorded, how much could one have being in the studio for three days and not being involved in the engineering on the final mix. This time however it would be different, Bowie let Eno “run wild,” and embraced his ideas. Bowie was willing to try anything and everything on Lodger, no matter how

unconventional, and he did for the most part. Sean Mayes describes a rather bizarre idea Eno had, and one that was used extensively on the album. Either Eno, or Bowie would lay out a very short sequence of chords which they would have the band play over and over again repetitively. These sequences were produced by varying methods and most were random, thought up on the spot. One of these methods for choosing a sequence of chords was thought up by Eno, and it involved a series of printed cards. These cards were fastened to the wall and printed on each one was a chord, for an example, A minor, B flat, C, F, C minor, D and so on. The musicians were assembled together and a very basic rhythm was played. Now, as the rhythm track played Eno would use a pointer to select various chords at random from the cards pinned on the wall, which were then played. This process, never before attempted as far as I know, was used to write some of the tracks on Lodger. There were plenty more “unconventional” techniques incorporated on Lodger, this wasn’t certainly wasn’t it by any stretch of the imagination. Every day Tony Visconti would do rough mixes from the recording sessions and have them transferred to 3/4 inch reel to reel tape, and these tapes would be given to Bowie and Eno every evening. Once in possession of the tapes Eno and Bowie would cut and splice them, often making tape loops. These “edits” would be brought back into the studio the following day where they could be copied and inserted using a multi-tracking system. Although this method is out of the ordinary, it certainly is not new. Those of you familiar with Brian Eno’s work with Roxy Music, and his solo material, are well aware of his use of tape loops, they could almost be classified as his “signature.” Robert Fripp has also used this technique, Frippertronics being a perfect example. Bowie used this method as well in the past, on Heroes to be exact. If you are not familiar with this technique I will try my best, forgive me but I am far from being a technical person, to explain, using what rudimentary knowledge I have.

Tape loops are exactly that, tape loops. First of all there will be a selection of music which has been recorded on a reel to reel tape, just like Visconti’s rough mixes. What is then done is the tape is literally cut in order to extract a certain section of music. Once the tape has been cut, it is then spliced back together in such a way that it forms a loop. This tape loop can then be inserted into a tape recorder and played. When it plays of course, the effect you get is having the same sound repeating over and over again. This sound is often used as the “core” sound when composing a piece of music, with other sounds, vocals and instrumental tracks laid over top to complete the composition. There is one technique using tape loops, Eno is famous for it as a matter of fact, that can bring a certain “sound” to a piece of music. The sound is created by changing the speed of the tape loop as it plays, by making it go faster or slower, a wide range of very unique sounds can be created. If you wish to hear a good example of some sounds generated using this technique, without having to try to decipher them amidst a vast array of other noises, then pull out a copy of Heroes. If you give a good listen to Blackout you should be able to distinguish these repetitive sounds generated by using tape loops. The reason I single out this particular track is for the reason that Blackout was composed around two simultaneous tape loops, and therefore the sound is quite easy to hear apart from everything else.

What was usual about the sessions however is that all of the tracks were recorded in one or two takes, Bowie liked to preserve the spontaneity. Most of the time everything that was recorded was left in, including the “mistakes.” Boys Keep Swinging is an interesting track, and one where the musicians swapped instruments, Alomar on drums, Davis on Bass and Eno on piano. The ranchos guitar solo done by Adrian Belew on this track has got to be one of the highlights. So was the way it

was recorded. Adrian Belew was sequestered during the recording of Boys Keep Swinging, he had never heard the song. After the track was recorded, and Belew still not hearing any portion of it, he was instructed to play a lead. The lead guitar track played by Belew spontaneously was then mixed into the final version of the released version of Boys Keep Swinging. I do not know how they managed to achieve this but that lead fits into that song perfectly and in my opinion is one of the best parts on Lodger. I wish to add this as a side note. I do not know if you agree, but I found the guitar solo done by Reeves Garbrels on the track Looking For Satellites from the album Earthling, strikingly similar the one done on Boys Keep Swinging. It sort of “comes out of nowhere.” I happened to read an interview with Gabrels and in it he talks specifically about that song. The solo was not recorded the same way, it appeared under protest, so to speak. The original take of Looking For Satellites did not have Reeves guitar solo on it. As it so happened Bowie did not intend on having a guitar solo at all in Looking For Satellites, it was an after thought. After listening to the track Bowie decided to add a guitar solo to the song. Reeves Gabrels protested and said that the track was best left alone, a solo he insisted would not “fit,” the “ambiance” would be lost. Bowie insisted that he wanted it done so it was done. The result? To me anyway that solo is one of the best parts on Earthling.. As, far as Lodger is concerned, well, the experiments were just beginning.


To be continued…………..

Posted 25 May 2002

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Part Twenty Seven

Although it all appeared that success had infiltrated every aspect of Bowie’s life, and his career, there was still a recurring problem that had yet to be overcome. It had plagued him his entire career and continued to do so. No remedy seemed to work and he had tried everything. Bowie still couldn’t sell many records, and the lucrative American market he dreamed of one day breaking into, still eluded him. The first stage of his world tour concluded on June 29 and a four month break was scheduled before it was to resume. Bowie went off to Switzerland immediately to take a well needed three week holiday. What was becoming worrisome is the fact that even though the tour was earning Bowie record attendance figures, and record gate receipts, his record sales were dropping to staggering low figures. It did not matter where one looked, David Bowie had nothing on the record charts anywhere in the word. Tony Visconti mixed the tapes for Stage, the double live album recorded in Philadelphia on April 28 and 29, and the album was due for release the first week of September, while the tour was still in progress. It was hoped that Stage would have some impact and put Bowie’s name back on the charts. There was one more item, which nobody thought much of at the time. The premier of Just A Gigolo was postponed, and re scheduled for an October release in Berlin. The film would be ready for general release in February of 1979. The reason given was that the re editing of the film was taking much longer than originally anticipated. A curious comment was made in an article written by Michael Watts in the September issue of Melody Maker. In the article Watts predicted Just A Gigolo would turn out to be, ” the movie bummer of the year.” Lucky guess maybe?

While on the break from the touring schedule Bowie enters the studio, once again with Brian Eno to begin work on his next LP which will be released as Lodger. On September 25, 1978 RCA releases Stage. Personally, I can’t imagine that any of the “suits” over at RCA would be so bold as to hold out even the slightest hope that Stage would do anything other than make a brief ripple, and then promptly sink to the depths and disappear from view. I say this because if you look at it realistically, and I find this quite humorous, what Bowie had given them was a “live” version of Low and Heroes, two albums RCA hated, and two albums that were commercial failures. The results were what one would expect, Stage sold 127,350 (fig. 1984) copies in America. With three commercial failures in a row, and considering the fact that Bowie was being far from co operative, they still couldn’t even find him half the time, the executives at RCA had decided that they had taken about enough as they were going to from Bowie. The battle lines were being drawn.

This character was one of indifference concerning the wants of those around it. Bowie did what “he” wanted to, and that was it. This attitude was reflected in his work, his attitude and his lifestyle and if anyone disagreed with him, well, too bad. Things would be his way only. It is a dream of most to have a life where one does not need to have to succumb to the wishes of others, but instead living a life where you are free to do whatever YOU want, without any interference from others. It’s called freedom I believe. This sort of lifestyle is possible, however it requires one thing, and that is to be self sufficient. In order to break free from having to do the will of others, you first have to stop relying on the support of others to survive. Contrary to what many may think this is easily accomplished, all that is required is an ample supply of money, because once you have the money, you can get what you want, you do not have to depend on anyone else. If one stops to look at what Bowie had accomplished in the time frame of about two years the results are nothing short of

astounding. Look back to February of 1976, the beginning of the Station To Station tour. Bowie had just previous to the start of that tour re negotiated his contract with MainMan. While at MainMan Bowie was not only broke, he owed a sizable amount of money, and was himself owed a hefty sum from MainMan, which it was unable to pay. After all was said and done, Bowie was for the most part free by the beginning of 1976 and after receiving what was due to him he had around three hundred thousand dollars to his name. This was considered a lot of money back in those days, however compared to the gross income Bowie had generated for MainMan, the amount was laughable. Still, it was better than the seventy five dollar a week salary, and fifty percent of whatever money Defries decided he would leave behind as profits. In just two short years Bowie received $200,000.00 in advance for Stage, and so far he had grossed from the 66 concerts on the tour five to six million dollars. If you add in the other sources of income such as royalties derived from album sales and publishing, Bowie was worth an estimated ten million dollars, and all of it was tucked away in the safety of Swiss bank accounts.

The rift with RCA was becoming noticeable, so much in fact that the “trades” were starting to comment in their editorials. Bowie was living up to the letter of his contractual obligations, it was assumed that this would ensure a clean break with RCA when his contract expired and to avoid any litigation. The most recent “spat” between RCA and Bowie was over Stage. Bowie insisted that Stage count as two separate albums against what he was required to produce for RCA under the terms of his agreement, RCA would have no part of this saying Stage counted as one album, not two. Surprisingly for once it was RCA who eventually got their way, Stage would count as one album. It was for obvious reasons that Bowie wanted to avoid “pissing” on RCA publicly, he still had four additional years to fulfil under his contract and a public fight would do nothing but further strain the relationship helping no one. In a completely unexpected mood Bowie held a press conference on October 8, saying he wanted to clear the air concerning the rumours about his intended split with RCA. At the press conference Bowie stated that his relationship with RCA was not only a long one, but a very rewarding one as well. He said that any rumour stating that he was interested in signing with another label were false and erroneous. He was lying through his teeth. Isolar, under his direction, was already compiling information on the other labels for him to examine. Bowie was through with RCA.

The Heroes tour resumed on November 11 in Australia, with Adelaide being the first stop. All was not well. David Hemmings had run out of money when three quarters of the way through editing Just A Gigolo, and as a result he just simply walked away from the whole project. Bowie was given the opportunity of an advance screening before the film went to final edit. He watched it in the company of the members of Manhattan Transfer who had been hired to perform on the soundtrack. Bowie saw the movie for exactly what it was, career damaging. He was horrified, describing it as a “cocaine” movie. I disagree with this however, it is much more like an “acid” movie in my opinion. It gets worse however, you see Bowie saw the film BEFORE it got butchered. With Hemmings gone the final “cut” was left in the hands of “others.” To make matters worse, the running background dialog which provided the story narration was deleted. In addition the music by Manhattan Transfer was cut and spliced to the point of reducing it to mish mash. Twenty minutes of the film, which Hemmings insisted provided the humour and the irony that were central to the picture, was left on the cutting room floor. In my opinion this statement was Hemmings trying to save his own skin. Nothing, especially twenty minutes of lost film could have saved this movie. I saw it several times

and I did not think the humour was erased from the film in the least, I laughed my ass off all the way through it each time.

There is a saying, and it goes like this, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” It is an old and popular saying, and one that someone should have remembered. When Just A Gigolo was complete there was not one film distribution company they could find that would have anything at all to do with it. Now, does this tell you something? It tells me something and perhaps they should have listened and decided not to release the film, however some people are stubborn. In the end they found an inexperienced distribution company called Tedderwick, who had distributed just one film before, to handle it. Bowie held a press conference at The Cafe Royal which lasted fifteen minutes. He did not attend the premier. The critics were honest, they wrote that the film was a complete mess. The script was called abysmal and the directing by Hemmings lacked any flair. The acting, with the exception of Sydney Rome was described as “stiff as a morgue.” The saving grace for Bowie is that the film was not heavily publicized and pulled from the market after only a few showings. This certainly limited the amount of damage to his career. Bowie later referred to Just A Gigolo as all of his Elvis movies packed into one. I imagine the pig in the movie sued for damage to its acting career as it would not have been able to find work after appearing in that film. This film in my opinion has no value as art, however as a comedy it is worth seeing.

The tour wound through Australia playing in venues that were well sold out in advance. The Melbourne show was held outdoors where a crowd of over twenty thousand braved the pouring rain to see the concert. As much as the crowds turned out however, this character Bowie had assumed grew more and more isolated. On one rare occasion he did speak to a journalist in London something he said had almost a prophetic value. The interview was conducted by Mavis Nicholson for Welsh TV. In the interview Bowie said, ” Thematically I’ve always dealt with isolation in everything I’ve written, I think. So it’s something that triggers me off. It always interests me in a new project. I have often put myself in circumstances and positions where I am isolated, just so that I can write about them.” Interestingly, and what no one knew at the time, this statement was coming from a man, who for the most part was about to disappear for a period of five years. The Australian portion of the tour finalized with two performances in Sydney. There was a rumour, this one was reported in certain papers, that Bowie was paid in gold bars for the two performances in Sydney. This would allow him to legally evade certain tax obligations he had to the Australian government. Although this rumour is unsubstantiated, personally with his business savvy knowing how to keep the tax man in poverty, and his earnings in his own coffers, this would not surprise me one bit if it is true. If it is not true someone just gave him a perfect idea to use next time.

On November 17th, RCA released Breaking Glass/Art Decade as a single with Ziggy Stardust on the flip side. All of the cuts were off of Stage. If anyone was still crazy enough to believe that there would be any positive public reaction to Stage, their hopes were soon dashed as the single promptly sailed off into oblivion. Much to the dismay of the accounting department of RCA, as well as the executives responsible for managing their artists, this was becoming all to routine. The failure of the single to spark any interest in Stage, as well as the overall commercial failure of Stage had little or no effect on Bowie. Why should he care anyway whether it sold or not, he was making enough money as well as doing things his way. He did not need a hit, RCA did. To those around him Bowie was becoming incessantly arrogant. It was a “Fuck You” attitude, if you don’t like it, well, then Fuck You.

Bowie did what he HAD to, but no more beyond the minimum. He was quite clearly biding his time and there was nothing RCA, or anyone else could do about it. With the Australian part of the tour wrapped up Bowie rented an apartment, unknown of course to RCA, and he quietly moved to Kyoto, Japan. It is here that Bowie would spend Christmas.

The 1978 Heroes tour wound up with shows in Osaka and Tokyo. To all who saw this tour most will agree with what I say, that it was an awesome experience. Now, as much as it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to attend a performance on this tour, and thinking of it conjures up some great memories, there is also a downside attached to it. Without getting into a debate the majority of the fans who “grew up” with Bowie in the seventies will agree with the opinion that this tour marked the end of Bowie, live anyway. The sad part is that little did anyone ever dream that this tour would be the last of Bowie as he was prior to 1980. We witnessed the end. This character turned out to be a virtual Jekyll and Hyde. You see, on the one hand this character gave us arguably the best work of Bowie’s career, certainly the most creative. On the other hand it took the Bowie we knew away. Not immediately mind you, but it was the end of an era. Let me throw this out, just for the sake of asking. What do you think the mood would have been like had those in the audience known at the time that this would be the last they would see of Bowie for five years? Also, that this was the last they would see of Bowie as he was, the next time they saw him he will have done a complete makeover, musically and personally, he would leave it all behind, including his fans, and David Bowie would become totally commercial?

March 1979 would find Bowie in New York mixing Lodger. Lodger, Bowie’s most experimental album really. That is hard to understand until one examines the recording of it. To do that we have to go back to September 1978, Montreux, Switzerland.

To be continued……….


Posted 18 May 2002

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Part Twenty Six

I may sound a little harsh to a few of you in my assessment of this situation. That may be so, however, these are not by any means “isolated” instances, and matters of this nature are not the “exception” to the rule, but are the rule. There is no shortage whatsoever of examples where little, or no consideration at all has been given to what the fans themselves may have wanted, or have in fact wanted. It is quite an eye opening experience for any fan, no matter how long they have been buying Bowie’s work, if they decide to get an accounting of what recordings are in fact REALLY available, and not just officially released. I can safely assure each and every one of you that what you will uncover will provide you with a fairly hefty shock, and not one of a very pleasant nature. I still, after over a quarter century of purchasing Bowie’s recordings, quite frequently find material that some have known about for some time and is a surprise to me. The sheer volume of recordings that are kept away from Bowie fans is STAGGERING. I am not referring to recordings which offer little in historical value as many of these which I have stumbled upon are of highly significant value, and a few in my opinion are “priceless.”

At the risk of appearing not very well educated with regards to the “unofficial” catalog of Bowie’s work, I am going to reiterate this anyway. About two years ago I discovered a recording called Beckenham Oddity. The reason I feel uneducated is because of the treatment I got when I made inquiries about locating it. All I can say is that by the tone of surprise I encountered from all of those I contacted, it seemed that I was the only person in the world who was oblivious to its existence. I am specifically mentioning this recording for two reasons. One, to illustrate my point, and two, just in case there is another out there such as myself, who is unfamiliar with this recording, I want to make you aware of it so you may hunt a copy down if it interests you. Anyway, I was quite enthralled by the circumstances surrounding this recording, as well as completely dumbfounded as to how such a recording managed to elude me all of these years. I still marvel even today at that question. This tape was recorded in Bowie’s bedroom at his home in Clairville Grove, Chelsea, where he had shared a flat with his girlfriend, Hermione, and John Hutchinson. This tape features some of the material David and Hutch had been performing as Feathers, and now as a duo. “David had split from Hermione and Feathers had split too. It is an actual demo tape which was recorded in the presence of Bob Grace of Chrysalis Music. The recording was made in February, 1969. The track listings are Space Oddity, Janine, An Occasional Dream, Conversation Piece, Ching A Ling, I’m Not Quite, Love Song, When I’m Five and Life Is A Circus. Taken from a historical perspective this recording is arguably thought to be the most valuable among collectors, for the simple reason of the time period it documents. [it should be noted that the author wrote these posts well before Youtube or he ease of trading unofficial recordings online. Beckenham Oddity and others are quite easily available… and often times for free if one knows where to look] I will vouch for the fact that anyone who likes this material will be overjoyed with this album. The songs are all performed on two acoustic guitars and few have Bowie’s land lady on piano. Since it was recorded in his bedroom I do not have to tell you how laid back the ambiance is. There is a wonderful “feel” to the entire set, and I think that some of the versions far surpass what was released, although it is unfair to really compare them to one another. This should have been released, and a long time ago. All Saints contains the exact same versions of material that was released ages ago and as a collectors piece, other than mimicking a compilation CD Bowie gave away to friends as a Christmas gift, it has no real value. Fans should have been given Beckenham Oddity over All Saints, or Hours for that matter. Ooops, I’m in trouble now, aren’t I? Again, I mean.

Look at how long it took for fans to get an opportunity to see Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture. What is known as the “farewell” or “retirement” concert was filmed by D.A Pennebaker at the Hammersmith Odeon Theater in London on July 3, 1973. Most will concede that the film and soundtrack are far from perfect, and the overall quality of the entire package borders on the side closest to mediocre. Still, even considering the quality, the film is a wonderful testament to the Ziggy era and I believe that most Bowie fans should have a copy of this film, I would forget purchasing the soundtrack alone. I am relieved that it got released but I still harbour a few concerns about it, and these concerns do not sit very well with me at all. First of all I am rather curious to know why most fans got short-changed on the film. If you did not know that you do now. To be more specific, many of you are not even aware that you have NEVER SEEN what I consider to be one of the best parts of the film, and you may never unless you track yourself down a copy, because the piece I am referring to was CUT OUT of the original film before you ever saw it. Yep. Are you curious as to what got cut? Okay, I will tell you. The officially released copies have the, “I retire and you will never ever see me again, and I mean that, for at least six months. Not only that, but I promise on my just written autobiography and my screen play on the life of Goebbels that I won’t be recording any more at all, ever, until next month ,” following White Light-White Heat and ending with Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide. This is not how the concert went at all, and the “unofficial” copies of the film which were never made available to fans show the concert as it REALLY WAS. There was truly a great moment in modern music history that took place immediately following White Light-White Heat. Bowie announces that being the last show he wanted to something nice for the audience, and says that he has invited a friend along to come and join them on stage. He then asks the audience to welcome Jeff Beck. I would have no problem understanding an attitude that displays indifference to quote, “another,” version of Jean Genie, however this one is different. Jeff Beck alongside Mick Ronson is nothing short of fabulous and the energy from them playing off one another creates a truly great and rare moment that should not be lost. In the middle of the song Bowie picks up a harmonica, starts playing, and they kick into a version of The Beatles, Love Me Do. The song works its way back into Jean Genie with Ronson and Beck trading off pieces. The guitar sounds continue to wind up leading to a thundering climax at the end. After Jean Genie Beck stays on for a version of Round and Round, and this is followed by the COMPLETE farewell speech which is missing on the released copy. The show closes to Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide.

There was a demand for this film from the day it was learned that the concert was recorded, of which fell on deaf ears. It is a mystery to me why it took a decade to be released. I guess Bowie doesn’t mind US waiting. There is something about all of this that ties into the 78 documentary shot by David Hemmings and it does not sit right with me at all. I would be extremely interested if any of you could offer a possible explanation for this because I can’t possibly think of one, and maybe one of you either see something that I am missing, or you may know more about the circumstances which surround this. I will say at any rate I would really welcome any of your ideas about why this is. You may recall the explanation Bowie gave for not releasing the 78 documentary video. It was because he would be required to pay Defries fifty percent of the profits and that bothered him. In 83 though he releases the Ziggy movie and since it was made in 1973 he would have to pay Defries fifty percent of the profits from it as well. What is more mystifying is not only does the movie get released but the soundtrack as well of which Defries also gets a percentage. My question is if he did not release the 78 film to prevent Defries from profiting, then why did he turn around and release not only the Ziggy movie, but the soundtrack as well, of which Defries would be eligible for fifty percent of the profits? The list goes on, there is a virtual wealth of extremely interesting and high quality material out there that Bowie has not made available to you. To any of you who have Bowie At The Beeb you will be aware of the older material that appears on there. If you find those recordings interest you sleep well knowing that there are three other CDs out there that contain the same thing. When is Bowie going to release it you ask? I do not know for sure but I heard all three disks are due for release in a collectors box set. I believe it is scheduled to be in the stores sometime just after the release of The Contamination Trilogy, The double CD of the March 26, 1976 show from the Nassau Coliseum, the Ziggy At The Rainbow video and the Sound And Vision tour video shot at The Tokyo Dome.

It is interesting to note that BEFORE Bowie went mainstream there seemed to be greater attention placed on what he released, probably aware that the small following he had outside of the UK would not tolerate being ignored as far as the music is concerned. Look at it this way. I would have loved to see him try a Bowie/Diddy in 1974, but he knew better than to even think about it as it would have meant a rapid departure of his fan base. If you disagree, well, then you had better think again, because I seem to recall a mass exodus of his original fans between 84 and 87, with many returning at the release of Outside, and some never coming back.

This disregard for fans has spread unfortunately, and you can bet it is going to get one Hell of a lot worse. You mark my words that one day albums, concert tickets and all other matter of Bowie related items will be available in one place, and one place only, through Bowie himself. I find his selling of tickets, the recent BBC studio performances and Roseland, through Bowienet to be a complete slap in the face to many of his fans. To do this demonstrates a complete and total lack of consideration on his part, and it is also highly discriminatory. I find it disgusting for Bowie to put “worth” on his fans, he has alluded to this fact by his actions that where he is concerned, SOME FANS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS. [for the record, this reader disagrees. I do not think it “discriminatory”, I think it quite liberating. Making everything available online opens up the opportunities for tickets and albums and videos to anyone and everyone with a computer.  No longer are the fans living in New York the only ones aware of a Madison Square Garden show. By going online someone like me living in Saginaw Michigan now knows of this show AND has access to tickets so that I have the opportunity see that show too! So what if I have to pay a few bucks to join the fan club. How is paying a little extra for a fan club membership any different that paying service fees and handling charges via Ticketmaster? At least with a fan club membership I get a monthly news letter and a little SWAG to add to my collection. Interjection/rant over] You may wonder how I reached this conclusion? Well, just look. If you wanted to see the Roseland shows, or attend the BBC recording of Bowie At The Beeb, you had to do something first to obtain the “privilege” of being able to purchase a ticket. You had to first spend your money to join Bowienet, even if you did not wish to. It cost you the minimum of around $25.00 for a three month membership to be able to buy a ticket, as they were sold only to Bowienet members. What is wrong with this? Plenty. I know that $25.00 may seem to be a small amount, to you anyway. That however is not the case with everyone. To students, the unemployed or those who may have jobs which do not allow for many luxuries that amount of money is a lot, and spending it could cause some hardship, or it may be impossible to even afford. Remember that this money is ON TOP of the $60.00 or so price of a Roseland ticket and could mean the difference between going, or not going. If a scalper adds $25.00 to a ticket price artists like Bowie scream at how they are ripping off the public. Well, what is the difference? You pay a surcharge of close to fifty percent to obtain a ticket here. You are forced to buy a service you do not want if you wish to go. Sorry, this is wrong. Why should a Bowie fan miss a concert because they don’t join Bowienet? Are Bowienet members better fans than everyone else? Apparently. Well, according to Bowie anyway if you look at the billing for one of the Roseland shows. If you recall one of the performances was not open to “the general public.” Now, hold on here. “General public.” What the fuck does that mean? This is a BOWIE CONCERT, there is no “general public.” I would highly doubt it if the average person would plan to attend a Bowie concert just for the sake of having something to do. I do not know about where you live but I have been to enough Bowie gigs over the years, and in many places, to say with confidence that Bowie concerts are attended not by “the general public,” but by BOWIE FANS. What is really obnoxious is the billing went on to read that this show was reserved for, “REAL BOWIE FANS. THE DIE-HARDS.” This meant of course Bowienet members. So, for those of you who have been buying Bowie’s work faithfully for years and, I know full well just how much Bowie fans spend, rest assured that you are still not a “REAL” fan, but a measly member of the “general public.” It is because of your status that you are not welcome at the Roseland gig or to the BBC sessions. Your value as a real fan is measured by your PAID membership to Bowienet. If you can’t afford to join then tough luck, you are still “out.”

I may be mistaken but Bowie is the only artist that I am aware of who CHARGES his listeners a fee of close to $100.00 a year to have access to him. The truth is a Bowie fan is a Bowie fan. Young, old, just started listening to him, listened to him for years, whether you like this or like that, seen him live or not, it DOES NOT MATTER, if you listen to Bowie for the “right” reasons then A FAN IS A FAN. To even imply only the real fans are Bowienet subscribers is ignorant, and worse yet is the fact that there are people out there who are willing to believe the “pitch” and part with their money. Oddly though, if you go and visit Bowienet and get to learn about the “average” member, you will see in no time that there is one segment of Bowie’s fan base that is noticeably absent. His older fans. Ooopps, sorry. My apologies. I forgot. We aren’t fans now, are we.

Although because of my deep respect for authority, and my adherence to law and order, I do not personally purchase, or posses, any bootleg material, I can’t fault others for buying it. The reason is that there is such a wealth of worthwhile material to be had that it is difficult to fault those fans who want it. There is only one chance to see The Thin White Duke in concert and that is the rehearsal tape that was bootlegged, other than that there is nothing with sound. Nothing. Most fans have never seen a 76 concert performance and to “understand” the white light effect, and why this show was so captivating, and considered by those lucky enough to see it his best, it is necessary to obtain this tape. In my opinion Bowie is at fault, not the fans for the vast trading and buying of this material. If it was RELEASED then there would not be a “black market” so large. Bowie fans I do not believe are wrong to get as much as they can, it shows dedication, if anything. Now, to those who say that these people are STEALING DAVID’S ROYALTIES and are NOT BOWIE FANS for doing it, then I have some kind advice for you. Look at me, now turn around, real slow, now FUCK OFF! Do you know how stupid you sound. I am a Bowie fan and I never want to see Bowie live on stage in 76, 78, 90, 72 or any other year except 83 and 87. I don’t want to hear ANY live concerts except the ones on David Live, The BBC and Stage. I do not want to hear any other recordings Bowie did with Queen, Marc Bolan, John Cale or Lulu. I don’t want to see The 1980 Floor Show, TV appearances or hear any radio broadcasts. I am not interested in getting everything I can by Bowie, especially some of the unofficial recordings, even though some are the best I will ever hear. Just listen to yourself. A Bowie fan? As I said, “Turn around.” Idiot. [one last interjection by me on this point… since these unofficial recordings are by their very nature…. “unofficial” which means they have never been released. They are not part of the artists or the record company’s catalog. No money is being made by the artist or the record company on these recordings so how can anyone claim that royalties are being denied to anyone?]

End of speech. AlaDInsaNE

To be continued……….

Posted 12 May 2002


The Day Bowie Died

David Bowie Albums from 1969 – 2016

365 days ago we turned on our radios, TV’s or logged into our social media accounts to the same headline: Singer David Bowie, one of the most influential musicians of his era, has died of cancer at the age of 69.

All of us had the same reaction with mouths open, heads shaking side to side “no” was the unspoken statement. Then aloud we said “wait, what? No it can’t be true. NO! Not David Bowie!” But when we turned the station or continued to scroll through our news feeds there it was again: Singer David Bowie, one of the most influential musicians of his era, has died of cancer at the age of 69.

How could this be? He just released a new album two days ago. Sure, he had a heart attack but that was almost ten years ago. Nobody knew he was ill. Wait, what? Cancer? Singer David Bowie, one of the most influential musicians of his era, has died of cancer at the age of 69.
One year earlier, January. 2015, David called his producer, band member and long time friend Tony Visconti to his home. “He called me for a meeting and it sounded like I was getting the sack. Then David said, ‘I have something to show you’, and pulled his woolly hat off. He was completely bald and he said, ‘I have cancer’.” Visconti went on to say, “My life has not been the same since.”On sharing the news of his cancer diagnosis, Bowie told his friend ‘not to cry’, before saying he would continue to work on his final album despite his failing health.

Many tributes have been made. Many words written, but the one paragraph that soothes my soul comes from the British magazine, The Sun, who wrote: Bowie spent his last days staying in the scenic location of the Catskill Mountains area of upstate New York. A friend of the star told the paper: “After decades of frenetic city living, David finally found peace in the mountains.” I like the imagery of that. Not a sterile hospital. Not hooked up to beeping, sucking machines but in the scenic location of the mountains. It reminds me of the Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud.

365 days ago the news guy wept and told us… cried so much his face grew wet and we knew he was not lying – Singer David Bowie, one of the most influential musicians of his era, has died of cancer at the age of 69.

Images Part 25

bowie-1978These articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE” in

Part Twenty Five

It took a while, however I did eventually figure it out. It was the attitude. Performers have it, and lots, they run on attitude, ego, attention and being noticed. What I never considered at the time, but I see it now, is that the ultimate in attitude sheik is the appearance of not needing to be “seen.” You just KNOW that they will notice you, no need to make a spectacle, they will go looking for you if they have to. The truly “cool” are beyond hype because they do not need it to survive. I saw this for the first time in 78. Bowie portrayed it perfectly, well, the role fit him anyway. It was as though he invented this new style of celebrity sheik, class, not pretentious. What am I saying, he probably did.

You have seen it, the bands that are spectacle with no substance. You could barely see him walk out, and following Alomar no less. He didn’t go far, only to the side of the stage really and seated himself behind a chamberlain. To the vast majority of the audience he was a member of the band, Bowie was not on stage. How could he be missed? Easy. He was dressed in a way that did not separate him from the others, and his actions were that of the “hired help.” A concert goes in a sequence that is always the same, it never varies. First the long wait as an hour goes past the time on the ticket, and as you sit exposed to the obscure music drifting out of the soon to be overheated speakers you can’t help but wonder where the fuck they find this stuff. You always ask the same question, “Who gets to pick what they play over the sound system before the band starts?” Step two, out go the lights. Three, there are two options. Either the front man comes out with the band and “leaps” to the front of the stage, or in the usual case of a single “star” some form of a grand entrance has been carefully devised. Nobody misses the front man or the star. Bowie was no different either, he was the worst in fact. I used to think that he must practice his grandiose entrances relentlessly. He still does it at somewhat, and I swear he would have halted the rotation of the Earth as an added effect to get more attention at times. Eighty three and eighty seven come to mind, oh, and ninety as well.

The calls of biased opinion are expected but it is true, audiences in Montreal were extremely civilized, when I lived there anyway. Really. Warszawa was playing away and a good portion of the place sat there politely quiet waiting for the arrival of Bowie. Now, before you write them off as idiots remember that from a distance, and with no clothes or behavior to distinguish him from the others when he walked out, Bowie was easily missed. If you were not up close you would not have noticed him either. Planned? Yes, and well planned at that. He sat there and played while the audience waited for the Grand Moment, the ENTRANCE OF DAVID BOWIE. When will THE MOMENT arrive? Missed? It was a moment, but one gone by. No fanfare. David Bowie minus extravagance. This was the epitome of self assurance. Confidence. He dared to hand them Warszawa. It was almost a challenge and the message was clear, it was a statement that supported art for its merits, not Billboard Magazine’s hit chart. Bowie wrote what he wanted and he played it, whether it was accepted or not by his listeners, the critics or his label. He was beyond the point of needing “approval” from anyone. It was quite evident that by his entrance he no longer needed to be noticed, and he did not care. The fanfare was gone. This character was one of detail to his work and indifference to his audience. I know many found this combination quite acceptable, so much so that a return to this would be not only welcomed, but wanted. Some of you may understand that observation a little too well. I learned it many years ago.

It is rare, and as a matter of fact I have yet to see this “classic move” duplicated. I do not believe that it has a proper title that would serve as an adequate description, so I will coin one. Call it “Delayed Grandiose Entrance,” after being on stage already. I know, “How can he manage to perform a grand stage entrance after he has already made his appearance on stage?” Easy. He stood up from behind the chamberlain he was playing on Warszawa, bowed to the audience and walked to the center stage as the band played the opening bars of Heroes. Everyone saw him now and the reaction was just as you imagine it would be. It was simple yet on a grand scale. This character had class.

Read this. Warszawa, Heroes, What In The World, Be My Wife, The Jean Genie, Blackout, Sense Of Doubt, Speed Of Life Breaking Glass, Fame and Beauty And The Beast. Just think about it, as you are unlikely to ever see a set list like this again. Yes, I said a set list. Now, as creative and refreshing as the choice of songs were, this list was not good news to some Bowie fans in the audience for a reason you may not readily notice. There is one thing that is absent on this list and its absence angered a fair number of people in the audience. Read the list again, there are eleven songs. How many of those songs were hits on the radio? How many are popular, or well known songs to casual Bowie listener? Well, there’s Fame. Oh, and Fame? One of Bowie’s hits is Fame. Everyone knows Fame. See? Get my point? You know as well as I do that there are plenty of Bowie fans who prefer Bowie’s work previous to Low. Just picture yourself if you happen to be one of these people and you attend this concert expecting to get a good dose of Bowie’s popular material? There is a strong possibility that most of these songs you are barely even familiar with. How would you feel about now? I know it sounds insane to even contemplate, but I saw Bowie fans who were angry while watching a live Bowie concert! There were of course the other contingent of fans who seemed to be in paradise, still in awe at their good fortune. Personally I do not care for Fame that much. I really adore Speed Of Life.Bowie didn’t care, he was having fun and he seemed to really enjoy the freedom that he allowed himself to play this material. You could tell that he liked this work and he wanted to showcase it, which he did well if you go by the accounts of those who saw this tour. Sadly, and I am not alone in my opinion, it would be one year shy of two decades before a tour came that could rival any of the tours from the seventies. At this time however we were naive, so unaware of what lay ahead. This character was not what it appeared to be, and unfortunately we would learn its true nature far too late.

Intermission. Dave said ten minutes, meaning we had about an hour to kill.

The complaints could easily be heard now since the band was off stage. “Fucking shit. All he has played is FUCKING SHIT. I don’t like his new stuff much. He hasn’t played ANYTHING from Ziggy. This is my last Bowie concert, I’m bored. Let’s leave. What a fucking asshole. Not even Suffragette City or Jean Genie. What was that piano shit, the stuff without lyrics? Was that ever bad. This is a rip off.” These cases were not what you would even begin to classify as isolated. It was probably a good thing for Bowie that most were too stoned to organize some sort of group, as well as the fact enough wood to construct a scaffold and ten feet of good solid rope are difficult items to come by anywhere close to the Montreal Forum. Canada has strict gun possession laws as well. The general consensus overall was that the show could be better. It all came down to a set list that focused too much on the “serious” side. I may not agree with the people who were less than satisfied due to my personal tastes, however I could certainly see their point. Is the point valid? I would be interested in some opinions from other fans who read this. I will say that if I was more of a hit oriented casual type of listener I would most likely, I mean I would definitely, feel rather let down. Considering their circumstances I tend to think that they were pretty much justified in wanting a few more accessible songs played. Bowie must have forgot to be exceptionally late because he reappeared in under an hour if I am not mistaken.

Five Years, Soul Love and Star. They were not the full complete versions of each song but performed as a medley. They may not have been the complete versions, but there was enough of each song to silence most of those who were complaining just a few short moments ago. The few that still had anything to say about being let down were forever silenced by Hang On To Yourself, Ziggy Stardust and Suffragette City. Art Decade and Alabama Song followed. I confess by this time I was getting concerned, well I was in fear actually, fear of being letdown and having to go home with the feeling of disappointment. Nothing played yet from Station To Station. NOTHING! Time running out, and I am nervously anxious about what will be the final outcome. Will he play something from that album? Please? It wasn’t long. Saved. An excellent and lengthy version of Station To Station, not as good as 76 mind you, but still wonderful. I am happy. I am satisfied as Bowie says, “Thank you and good bye.” The stage is quiet. I thought how I could not have asked for more as Stay and TVC-15 were performed as encores and the show closing with Rebel Rebel. The reviews the next morning were quite good and the music critics in Montreal tended to be merciless.The tour cemented Bowie as a truly formidable act, able to fill 18,000 seat arenas, where as before, some venues on the 76 tour seated 3,000. Most of the venues on the North American leg of the tour seated 20,000 or more and many were filled to capacity. The exception was in the Southern States where a few of the stops undersold the Station To Station tour. Overall though the North American part of the tour was an overwhelming success for Bowie. There were thirty one stops on the tour and almost every performance met with wonderful reviews, especially in the major markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Detroit.

Let me interrupt the story for a moment to interject. While I have the full Detroit ’78 show on CD, this is the only link I could find online to that performance. Still it is a good chunk of just over 38 minutes and contains a good mix of early, mid and late ’70s Bowie music:

The gross take for this leg of the tour was conservatively estimated to be in the range of three million dollars. Bowie was paying the band members two thousand dollars a week plus expenses, plus a bonus at the end of the tour. Carlos Alomar was paid an additional sum for his responsibilities as band leader. The North American portion of the tour closed on May 9th in New York, after which Bowie flew to Germany, the start of the European leg of the tour. Bowie went to Cannes just before the tour was scheduled to hit Paris for the International Film Festival where a “teaser” for Just A Gigolo was being shown. The film was still in the editing stages so it could not be shown. In retrospect, rather than editing it, they should have been dousing every inch of the film with high octane gasoline and igniting it with the aid of a ten megaton nuclear weapon. His long awaited tour of Britain began in Newcastle on June 14th with three performances. Much to the dismay of RCA however, this was not the same Bowie that left the States. Something had changed.

This character, reminiscent of The Thin White Duke, had gone once again into complete isolation. Bowie had insulated himself to the point that no one could get anywhere near him, unless he allowed them to, and Coco made sure that no one did. Now, you would rightly assume in most cases that a record company would be able to find one of their major acts, especially when on tour. This was not so with Bowie. RCA attempted to locate him on numerous occasions but were unsuccessful. They wanted to speak to him regarding this sudden change that had occurred because they were

concerned, and they had a good reason to be. While in America Bowie was granting interviews to anyone who would listen, and this, as you can well imagine, delighted RCA after his refusal to promote Low in any fashion. On TV, radio and for the magazine reporters Bowie talked incessantly about Heroes and the tour. He more or less talked about anything. Not anymore however. Once Bowie arrived in Britain he refused to grant anyone and interview, and the band members were forbidden to speak to the media under the threat of being immediately replaced. Friends and relatives already knew that if they ever gave an interview or so much as commented about Bowie to the media in any form then he would never speak to them again, they would be removed from his life forever. That may sound petty but to disobey was at one’s peril, and everyone, even to this day who has ever been admitted to the “inner circle” is made well aware of this rule and they heed it. Those who are close are truly afraid of the consequences if they ever speak to the media, and the fear Bowie has instilled in them has worked well. How well? If you look back over all of the years since Bowie has been a public figure, from around 1968, there has only been two cases of anyone breaking their silence and talking to the media. In each case they were close relatives, one being his mother and the other being his aunt Pat, who is his mother’s sister. His aunt went to the media saying that Bowie did not financially help his mother, and more importantly broke every promise he ever made about making sure that his brother Terry was well looked after while in the hospital for psychiatric problems which plagued him deeply for most of his life. His mother confirmed all of this. She did say he bought her a mink coat but as a pensioner she could not afford to go anyplace to wear it.

Now, surely you think RCA could have found Bowie through his tour itinerary. I mean all you would have to do is get the name of the hotel and show up in person, he was bound to appear sometime. Unfortunately this was not possible. It is true that the hotels were well booked in advance, and the itinerary was known to RCA along with the accommodation arrangements. The problem lie in the fact that it was only the musicians and the employees on the tour who were staying at the hotels, Bowie was not. David, as well as Coco, only stayed at the homes of trusted friends, and when this was not possible they stayed in rented apartments. The only other living creatures in the solar system who knew where Bowie was staying were his long-time friend, confident, driver and bodyguard, Tony Mascia, and the other being Bianca Jagger who was traveling with him at times. Any attempts to get near Bowie when he was backstage before or after a performance were quickly thwarted by Coco. Obviously there were times when it was necessary for Bowie to meet with certain people, including those in the employment of RCA. The routine was always the same. David and Coco would have you pick them up at a predetermined spot away from where they were staying, and you would be required to come alone. They would be waiting on the side of the road and never near their car The meetings would be held usually at a restaurant, and when they were finished you would drop them off again where you picked them up. Bowie would have Tony drive around for a bit before going home in order to make sure that they were not being followed. RCA finally at one point got a reason for Bowie refusing to talk to the media anymore. He said, ” The tour was enough.” Oddly RCA did not find that explanation very comforting. Gee, I wonder why?

After thirteen performances in four cities the British portion of the tour came to an end with three performances at Earls Court between June 29 and July 1st. There were five 35 mm film cameras set up, and all three of the shows at Earls court were recorded in their entirety under the direction of David Hemmings. Sound and Vision was performed for the only occasion on the tour as an encore for the final show on July 1st. Now, for what it is worth I would like to offer a little advice for those of you out there who are planning to hold your breath until this documentary film of the Heroes tour is released. You may heed this advice or ignore it at your convenience but I just wanted to mention that you will be long dead before you ever see one frame of that film. If you do I want to remind you that I will go to great lengths in order to obtain the necessary funds in order to purchase a copy from you. Please be reasonable though and keep the price below two million, it isn’t proper etiquette to take advantage of other collectors.

If any of you are wondering why you will never see this footage of the 78 tour the reason is simple. It

is a reason that I have loudly complained about for a long time and I a getting rather sick of it to tell you the truth. The reason is of course MONEY once again. Oh, and let’s not forget GREED and EGO. The problem as far as Bowie is concerned is the MainMan contract, which you must remember was still in effect at this time and would be until 1982. Now, since the film was made in 1978 it means that Tony Defries is entitled to fifty percent of the gross profits from the film no matter when it is released. In fairness to Bowie I will say that he did try, he consulted with several lawyers who specialize solely in contract law in order to get some advice on what, if anything, could be done to get the film exempt from the agreement he signed with MainMan. Defries himself was a full time contract lawyer before he started to manage Bowie on a full time basis, and his partner in Chrysalis, Lawrence Myer, was a lawyer who specialized in contract law purely for the entertainment industry. Between the two of them you could well imagine the contract they drew up. Bowie was given the exact same verdict by every person he consulted, the contract was unbreakable under any circumstances. There was nothing anyone could do, and if he violated it he would lose in court, guaranteed. Okay, fine, and I fully accept the fact without any reservations at all that Bowie would have to give fifty percent of the profits from this documentary to Defries. There is some footage from Dallas as well as a fairly lengthy portion of the concert shot in Tokyo called Young Music Show which aired on NHK. One of my personal favourites is a video shot on August 4th, 1978 in Bremen for German ZDF TV’s Musikladen.

Since it was in a TV studio there is a only a small number of people in the audience and it gives the performance a very unique feel. The quality of the tape is very good and the set list is great. Bowie performs Sense of Doubt, Heroes, Beauty and the Beast, Stay, Jean Genie, TVC 15, Alabama Song and Rebel Rebel. Compared to the one unreleased piece of video which has sound that exists of the 76 tour, the 78 tour is rather well documented.

Anyway, documented or not isn’t the point. All of these videos were never officially “released” and made available for fans to purchase. The copies which exist now have been copied from the original television broadcasts, or rebroadcasts in some cases. It is because of this that a great majority of Bowie fans do not have easy access to this material and for obvious reasons there are a great number of fans that do not even know that this material even exists. [note: at the time of this writing, Youtube was still five or more years away] It is your prerogative to choose to disagree with me but I consider this period to be among the best of David Bowie’s career and one of the most creative. I also consider this tour to be one of his best as well. I am willing to venture a guess that I may not be the only Bowie listener who feels this way either.

What is troubling to me is that the requests or wishes from Bowie fans go ignored from what I have seen. This is particularly disturbing to see this done to fans who have supported Bowie financially and remained loyal to his work for DECADES. They have stuck with him through everything. I am not in any way undervaluing the loyalty of new fans when I say this because you go unheard for the most part as well. Many of you may not know this but it is true. Bowie and Eno recorded FIVE ALBUMS worth of material during the Outside sessions. You heard me, I said FIVE albums. I wonder if anyone other than myself would be interested in hearing these recordings? My opinion, an educated one at that, is yes. If you read the various newsgroups, or simply talk to other fans, you will find a large number who are waiting, well praying now, that one day before they die of old age. Contamination, the follow up album to Outside, will get released. There is a tremendous demand by fans to hear this material and to add insult to injury Bowie had PROMISED YEARS AGO to release it. Anyone see it yet? I haven’t, and if I haven’t I can guarantee you nobody else has either. Fans have begged for this album for years and received vague promises in return. These promises give fans hope, only to be snubbed and disappointed again. I seriously question the fact if Bowie cares at all about what this does to his listeners. Rather than a promised Bowie/Eno collaboration that was desperately wanted, and one fans waited patiently for, we got Hours, Bowie At The Beeb, Toy which was shelved and a guaranteed disappointment, All Saints, and news of the pending release of Heathen. The Beeb and All Saints contained nothing to get exited about as it was all old material that is either well known or worn out as far as Bowie fans are concerned, and Hours failed miserably to live up to the hype of it being a rival to Hunky Dory. To compare Hours to Hunky Dory is an abomination in every sense of the word. Oh, we got the Bowie and Puff Diddy collaboration too. Sorry, I wonder how I possibly managed to forgot about that? Silly me.

It is the same situation with the 78 documentary. There are many, well the majority I would guess, of fans who would appreciate the opportunity to see one of the best concert tours ever, and I don’t mean just Bowie tours either. This would be a tremendous opportunity which most fans would relish, as it would offer to them the opportunity to be able to see Bowie perform material that he is unlikely to ever repeat, and at a time that many would argue is the best period of his career. I have experienced first hand the appreciation of those who I have shared some 78 video with, who were of the opinion before that as much as they wished to see film from this era, they had given up hoping in the firm belief that they never would. The reality I am sorry to tell you is that in all probability you will never see this documentary. What is truly quite unfathomable is the reason why you will never see it, and that is because Bowie refuses to forgo half of the profits. I can’t speak for you but I do not particularly enjoy the feeling of being denied access to this valuable documentary solely for the

reason that Bowie WON’T MAKE ENOUGH MONEY from it. There seems to be far more consideration for the money than for the wishes of the fans. Personally I find Bowie’s actions to be a wonderful display of arrogance, and a perfect example in the art of how to be ungrateful. Is there any reason why Bowie could not release this for the benefit of his fans and show some gratitude, rather than think about money for a change. He is acting in a fashion that indicates he would suffer a financial setback of immeasurable proportions should he allow this documentary to be released. It doesn’t take the brain power of Einstein, as a matter of fact any idiot can easily figure out that the documentary does not generate any revenue from where it sits at the present time, it would however if it was packaged and sold. Guess what? I have a rather novel idea. Yes, I know, I am well aware how far fetched it is, and I know that the odds of it ever happening are around zero. I was thinking that maybe Bowie could release the documentary for us even if he broke even on it and there was no profit. I mean, he is worth over eight hundred million dollars, and I do not believe that the financial risks involved with this documentary are enough that they could cause him any serious harm. Yep, that is my idea, just GIVE it to us without caring about money all the time. It would be nice if we did not have to be snubbed and deprived because of a hissy fit over something that has sweet fuck all to do with us. Forget Defries, you still are getting half of the cash anyway, you are profiting and think about us for a change.


To be continued…………………..

Posted 11 May 2002