Celebrating David Bowie


Wanna know my dirty little David  Bowie secret? I never saw him in concert.

David played at Detroit’s Fisher Theatre in 1972 and then in 1973 he did several shows at the Masonic Temple in Detroit. David Brought his Diamond Dogs tour to Detroit twice in 1974. Firs came two shows at the famed Cobo Hall in June of that year and then returned in October to the Michigan Palace for six shows if memory serves correctly. I wasn’t even old enough to drive at the time (or barely old enough) and my parents were just coming to terms with the Beatles. There was no way they were going to let me travel into the city to see some British glam boy and whose sexuality was questionable at best. Of course these were the shows I wanted to see most and the ones I regret not seeing most.

David came around again during the Isolar I and II tours in 1976/1978 and this time it was my choice not go see him. I admit I was stuck on his previous persona’s and I just didn’t understand where he was taking us during the Station to Station/Low/Heroes years. Today, those are some of my favorite albums. I am sorry David for not trusting you and letting you take me on your full and fantastic journey.

In the 1980’s and 90’s I was raising a family, concentrating on a career in radio broadcasting had had moved far from Detroit and it’s suburbs where most, if not all the big concerts were held. I simply had not the time or inclination to attend concerts in those days.

Flash forward to  2004 and the rock station in our group had given away tickets to David’s Reality Tour stop at the Palace of Auburn Hills (January 9th 2004) and one pair had not been picked up by the end of the week. The rule around the station was thus: if tickets went unclaimed by the close of business on Friday for a show that weekend, they were up for grabs to anyone who wants them. They were offered to me but it was 5pm Friday and the show was that very night. I really wanted to go this time but it was such late notice that there just wasn’t enough time to do all the things I (and my wife) needed to do to get ready AND make the hour drive to the Palace. Oh well, I’ll catch him next time I thought.

There would be no next time. As we all know David suffered a heart attack during that tour and although he recovered nicely he never toured again.

And so it was with great excitement and a determination NOT-TO-MISS-THIS-SHOW that I heard about the “celebrations” tour organized by Mike Garson called: Celebrating David Bowie  and that one of the stops was the Royal Oak Music Theater just north of Detroit!

I marked the day tickets went on sale on my calendar at work. I began to wonder if there would be a pre-sale. A co worker suggested I message Mike Garson on his Facebook page and ask so I did… and he answered! (the pre sale code for the whole tour btw is STARMAN)

So I have my tickets in the fifth row. And I am very excited knowing I will finally see Mike Garson, Earl Slick and perhaps Carmine Rojas and Gerry Leonard… but as musically accurate as each song might sound with so many members of Ziggy’s band on stage, the voice is still gone. I’m sure more than a few tears will be shed that night.



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Part Thirty Six

One executive at RCA turned to the person seated beside him and asked, “What do you think of those girls?” The reply was, “One of them isn’t too bad looking.” The executive was probably in shear delight to hear that answer, it was, I imagine, exactly what he wanted, as he couldn’t have asked for a better one. The set-up was perfect, now, time to drop the bombshell. “They’re ALL Bowie,” were the next words spoken. Then you heard, “Really?” He wouldn’t have been the only one caught off guard either, when viewing the video for Boy’s Keep Swinging. It would have made a great company motto for RCA to apply to Bowie, “Caught Off Guard.” I mean, they usually were. This time though, well, was the same as the last, and the one before, and the one before that, and the one before that. Bewilderment. The executives at RCA were once again as perplexed as the last time Bowie handed them a new album. On the positive side, well, in five long years Lodger was the first studio album that contained at least ten VOCAL tracks. This was a step in the right direction, as far as they were concerned, but it didn’t take any more than one listen to realize that once again, there were no hits. They must have thought of those other labels who were cashing in on the Disco craze, and what do they get? Lodger. They all knew by now that there was no use in fighting, they were stuck with it, period. Now came the difficult part.

Most record labels, except Bowie’s, recoup their investment and hope to make a profit by selling the artist’s work. They now were faced with the task of getting someone to buy it. Demographics can often help, you look the record buying audience as a whole, then you divide them into groups according to specifications such as age, music preferences, what attracts them to a product, and so forth. Once you have this then you “target” certain segments of the audience, by tailoring a marketing and advertising campaign at those groups which have been selected. The feeling would best be described as sickening when analysing the demographics to market Lodger. An overall look at what the record buying audience consisted of, would have revealed a vast sea of eager purchasers just drooling for anything that had a beat they could dance to. This first bit of demographic information would be used as a comparison to the tracks on Lodger. Okay, they want dance tunes. Now, lets see, we have, Fantastic Voyage, African Night Flight, Move On, Yassassin, Red Sails, D.J., Look Back In Anger, Boys Keep Swinging, Repetition and Red Money. Nobody, RCA included, in their right mind anyway, could imagine anyone kicking up their heels to African Night Flight, Move On, Yassassin or Repetition at a Disco on Saturday night. Upon further review, the same conclusion would be reached on the other tracks as well. The majority of record buyers would not buy Lodger, plain and simple, so no use targeting them. Punk? Well, Bowie worked with Iggy. Iggy qualifies, but it would be uncertain if Lust For Life, or The Idiot, qualified as Punk. If so, since Bowie wrote, them it may be possible to promote him to this segment of the audience. It became clear that those who listened to the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedy’s, Alien Sex Fiend, The Clash, Skinny Puppy, The Cramps or The Stooges, were not about to slam dance and spit along to Fantastic Voyage, Red Money, or D.J. In addition, RCA was unlikely to succeed in getting Look Back In Anger, or Red Sails played between sets at CBGB’s, in an attempt to reach this audience. I could see Speed Of Life appealing those who were leaning toward New Wave at the time. Too bad it was two studio albums ago. All RCA saw so far was trouble. This trouble however would end, Rock was the answer. Of course, Bowie is a Rock N’ Roll musician. This album has lyrics, and sort of an edge like Ziggy, Aladdin Sane, Man Who Sold The Word, Diamond Dogs, Station To Station, SURE! It was when the marketing team turned on a Rock station that they would truly discover that they were not in any trouble at all, instead they learned

that they were FUCKED! Out of all of the music that they would hear the stations play, NONE OF IT was anything like Lodger. The ONE saving grace that they had, would have been when they discovered that there was an extremely strong market base to the Progressive oriented audience. They would buy it, all they had to do is sell it.

There was no way in Hell, they quickly discovered, to pass Lodger off as a “progressive” album. It may be a progressive audience that would buy Lodger, but Bowie was not a progressive artist in the sense of the word, and Lodger was not a progressive album either, for the same reason. It would be easy to say, “What is the problem? ” RCA has been marketing his work for years, by now they should know how. You would be right in that assumption, up to a point, that point would be 1976. RCA could market his work that year, and previous, because they knew what it was. Low ended that. With Low they were rendered helpless, also remember Bowie refused to lift one finger, or give even one interview, in support of it. With Heroes, well Bowie handled most of that, and this left RCA with absolutely no experience. I personally could have helped RCA market Lodger at this at this point, by telling them that I will buy a copy. After that, well, they are on their own. Press releases, whether internal company ones, or the ones let out to the media, are designed for one purpose, and one only, that is “hype.” They are in most cases sent out in advance, and are supposed to describe the product in such a way to increase anticipation. The record labels use them all the time, and RCA is no exception. I like wall to wall carpeting, mine needs to be cleaned by the way. No, I have not “FINALLY” snapped. It is because I sincerely care about your carpets that I am telling you this. If you have anything close that could fall and stain your carpet, please move it. You may laugh so hard at this you will knock things over. RCA was at a total and complete loss as how to even describe Lodger, that is evident by what you will soon read. How do you write a press release for an album that you can’t understand? Do you know? I do, because I found out from the internal RCA press release for Lodger. The answer is, you grasp at straws in panic.

The internal RCA advance press release, to create an air of excitement, described Lodger as a “concept” album. They did not go on to say that it was a concept that they did not understand though. After reading a few more lines you would have learned that, “The Lodger is a homeless wanderer, stunned and victimized by modern life’s pressures and technology.” Are you with me so far? Okay. Next came some friendly advice from RCA, well, more like instructions. These instructions were on how to listen to Lodger. It said, “It is absolutely necessary that you “listen” to Lodger until you can “HEAR” it.” WOW! That was my first reaction. Guess what? I tried it, and it works. Not only that, I tried it with a King Crimson album, and it worked also. Coincidence? I thought so at first. Well, I tried it once more, with Station To Station. I get tired sometimes of just looking at the picture on the front cover of that album, after all it is all over my house. Well, imagine my delight when I put it on, and following RCA’s instructions I listened to it, and I “HEARD” it! Really. Oh, this gets much better. The following line after these instructions contains a guarantee from RCA. It says, “The music “IS” there.” What they are really saying is that they know it is there, and hope that you can find it, because they failed. The press release summed up everything about Lodger into a final description. What was Lodger exactly? Get ready. “It would be fair to call Lodger, Bowie’s Sgt. Pepper,” they said. How accurate. There you go. Do you think that is fair? I think it is fair to say that they didn’t “GET” it. At all.

It wasn’t before long that RCA realized that there may be another “slight” problem, this time with

the video’s for Boy’s Keep Swinging, and DJ. Bowie dressing up as three women may have a rather negative effect on the sale of Lodger. This is due to the fact that the general public thought Bowie was already “weird” enough, and this was just fuel for the fire. This video they surmised was “passable,” but DJ was “another story. Bowie kissing a man was “dangerous” goods. In certain ways the gay community had moved along way towards acceptance by 1979, in certain ways, however some things remained unchanged. The main success came in the form of getting mainstream society to recognize in fact that the gay community existed, and this meant acceptance, to a degree. Realizing they were there however, was one thing, having it “thrown in your face,” quite another. There were also many parts of the country, and places away from the city, where attitudes remained unchanged. It was only eight years previous that the radio stations in the US refused to play any music made by a “Transsexual,” thus keeping Hunky Dory off the airwaves. It was only seven years previous that Bowie received death threats for his appearance. While Bowie is walking through Earls Court, followed by several people, at the end of the video for D.J, he “kisses” one of the males following him, and he makes SURE it is captured, and unable to miss, by the camera. RCA knows full well that there are many people out there who were likely to take offence to this, and a backlash was not ruled out. This was especially feared considering Bowie is wearing dresses in the other video that accompanies it. RCA had spent a lot of money trying to “undo” damage from the story that Tony Defries and Angie conjured up, and then getting Bowie to tell the writer from Melody Maker that he was gay. The UK was a lot more accepting concerning this “admission,” and the resulting media coverage saved a fourteen date tour to promote Hunky Dory, probably saving Bowie’s career in the process. In America however the announcement was accepted in a far different manner. In many ways it literally destroyed any opportunity for Bowie to break into the mainstream American market. “Unwillingly,” he said in a few interviews, Bowie became an icon for the gay community. He was now labeled, and as a result many radio stations refused to play any of his records, and many times in the press he was portrayed like an exhibit in a freak show. RCA had been trying to temper the public perception of Bowie in an attempt to make him more palatable to a mainstream audience. These videos were certainly not going to aid that effort.

Look Back In Anger did not fall into the “dangerous” category. It was “safe.” In my opinion this is a fantastic video. I can’t remember when I saw it for the first time, I do know however it was YEARS after the release of Lodger, because I live in Canada, a nation deprived. Please, do not get me wrong, we are certainly not deprived of music, we can get anything, the problem is that YOU HAVE TO GO OUT to get it. I read somewhere that Canada has some of the cheapest prices for CDs in the world, compared to other countries. I don’t know, Brian Kelton, Ziggy1, on this group should be able to give a solid opinion on our prices compared to the UK. This is because he attacked Canada last year, it was an all out war at many pubs. Looking the wrong way before crossing a street, because people in the UK haven’t learned the correct side of the road to drive on yet, Brian was almost hit by a car after leaving a “battlefield.” I would have pitied the remainder of the car. This is in average, and in US dollars, CDs range from $12.00 to $15.00, so you can decide. What we may make up in CD prices we lose on television. Truthfully, we get sweet fuck all when it comes to music on TV, except of course MTV, and Much Music, which is the Canadian equivalent. It didn’t used to be like that however, when I was in my teens we used to get some great shows. Two that come instantly to mind are The Midnight Special, and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. Stones, Bowie, and just keep going from there, including many of the largest acts from that period. These days? NOTHING. I asked a good friend in England a while ago if she had any Bowie on video that I may be interested in. She said that

she didn’t have anything “special,” only stuff she recorded from the television, and was convinced that I would have most of it anyway. Well, all I can say is that I sure hope she finds a lot more of this stuff that I “already have. “The tape was LOADED, interviews, concert footage, as well as copies of a few things I already have, but the quality of the video she sent put mine to shame. We would never get anything of that nature on TV here unfortunately. Deprived, as I said. This explains the reason that I did not get to see the Look Back In Anger video for several thousand years after its debut. David Mallet and Bowie based the story line for the video on a novel by Oscar Wilde called The Picture Of Dorian Gray. Even with their concerns about the “gay” slant on Boy’s Keep Swinging and DJ, the marketing department at RCA had decided to use them aggressively anyway, to draw some attention to Lodger. What they did was extremely unique, for the time anyway.

Although it was not yet recognized, the money saved from the reduction in travelling expenses, would turn out to be the largest benefit to be derived from video. As it stood now, record labels were required to send their artists all over the world on promotional tours to sell a new album. Talk shows, radio spots, magazines, autograph signings, appearances at record stores, and all of them required the “personal” touch. It was dreadfully expensive for the record labels, and very demanding mentally and physically for the artists because of the constant travel. Video changed all of that, allowing the promotion of an artist all over the world with no demands on the artist’s time, and little expense to the record companies. RCA did use the videos from Lodger, but only pieces, instead of using each of them in their entirety. RCA instead had a “new” video made that featured the many “faces” of David Bowie. When completed, the four minute video aired on the Promo Vision network, running non stop in one hundred stores belonging to the major record retailers across the country. It was also decided that RCA would organize some press and promotional parties, where they could air the video and rely on the subsequent write ups. They tried to book some space in a mental institution in New York for one promo party, no, I am not kidding, and failed in their attempt, being turned down also by two ballet schools, finally managing to secure the Explorers Club. For these parties RCA had a separate twelve minute video produced, which focused more on the current album. Bowie did not have a watch ,and he still doesn’t, being quite apparent as he waltzed in a ultra high fashionably three hours late for the screening. When he arrived the guests were ushered into a room to view the video on a large screen, and after they had access to Bowie so he could field questions about his new album. The marketing minds at RCA and Bowie seemed to have quite different opinions about what Lodger was. Rather than call the album his Sgt. Pepper, Bowie borrowed from the work of painter and filmmaker Salvador Dali, calling Lodger, “Dada Pop.”

Bowie was always complaining that RCA did not do enough to promote his work, always blaming his consistently poor album sales on them, and the lack of spending. I have often contemplated if it ever crossed his mind, even once, that when the bulk of people are listening to Disco Inferno, Boogie Nights, YMCA and Dancing Queen, they are not about to purchase albums with The Secret Life Of Arabia, Subterraneans or Red Sails on them. The extra investment made by RCA in the five videos, the spots on Promo Vision and the promotional parties meant little, the war between them still raged, turning nuclear for the most part. Bowie did not fight in person anymore, instead attacking by sending his personal assistant Coco Schwab to deliver the blast. Everyone was asked to draw a straw at a meeting of RCA executives, and it was a man named Pat Gibbons who drew the shortest one. This meant that it was he who got the job of being the liaison between RCA and David Bowie. Now, I have never seen a picture of Pat Gibbons, but I find it fun sometimes to just imagine what the people

you hear about, but have never seen, look like. Do you ever do this? I imagine Pat Gibbons as a man in his fifties, who used to be a bit on the heavy side, but has since lost a tremendous amount of weight. I see him as a soft spoken, mild mannered, easy going, and well educated man. His education provides him with the ability to assess situations and find logical solutions. I see him as becoming completely dumbstruck by those who do things that don’t make any sense, or try their best to make a bad situation even worse. One can only guess at such a man’s reaction when someone that you employ, and pay millions of dollars to, simply “disappears,” and won’t tell you where he lives. If he ever does surface, meetings are held where they request, after all precautions are taken to make sure that they are not being followed by you. Bewildered, as well as puzzled, would be a normal reaction that you would expect to see, to a person who complains that YOU do not do enough to promote their work, who hand you a new album, refuse to help you do anything to sell it, and instead run off to a foreign country to get drunk for eight months, leaving no forwarding address. A person would require a great deal of patience to have to deal with a person who will not meet with you face to face, instead sending others to deliver messages on their behalf. This would also require a person to have an extremely long fuse, able to put up with ongoing and reoccurring problems over and over and over, and over, and over and over and over again. An easy going demeanour would allow one to not take things personally when you are constantly being blamed for everything, and can’t seem to do anything right. This is especially true when you only discover what you supposedly did from a magazine, an interview, a media press conference or some other public forum. I believe that Pat Gibbons must have had a very supportive wife, if she didn’t pack up and leave in the middle of the night. She would never force her opinions on Pat, but would probably offer her advice. For instance, she may have calmly suggested that it would be nice if Pat found a different line of employment, rather than deal with recording artists, suggesting a circus clown, migrant farm worker, septic tank cleaner, or stunt man as alternatives. Probably a social drinker at one time, Pat can now put back an eight ounce glass of straight vodka in one swig. He would do this I am sure when he downs five or six number ten Valiums, or some other sedative, his ulcer medication, or just before bed when he takes his sleeping medication. The constant demands of the corporate world would cause him to forego just regular medical check ups, but instead going quite frequently, sometimes thinking that he might one day be under the constant care of a physician. Pat is probably bald, he shaves his head, because for some reason he developed a “twitch” that caused him to pull his hair out for some inexplicable reason. One thing odd about Pat though, if his wife asks him if he would care for some Hot Coco, he looks rather insane.


To be coninued…..but not very much

Posted 1 July 2002

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Part Thirty Five

There are a few radio stations that I can spend a bit of time listening to. These are usually the ones that they call “classic” rock stations. However, there is not one that I have discovered, that I could listen to on a regular basis day after day, because they all have the same major problem. The problem is that they all tend to play the same songs over and over again for decades at a time, and it gets rather annoying after awhile. Ziggy Stardust, Changes, Suffragette City, Rebel Rebel, Jean Genie, Golden Years, Young Americans, Modern Love, Space Oddity and a few others are the extent of their Bowie menu. Maybe you are different, me. well, I prefer not to be yelled at, especially first thing in the morning. Not only is this not nice, but I am not a “morning person,” so you may be committing suicide to do so. I do not need some fucking DJ yelling at me, as most of them now do, ever. I also do not need their lame jokes, or a bantering “morning” show laced with foolish commentary. The thing that I need least though, is to enter their contests. I will not put my balls in a vice, food processor, or a meat grinder while at the same time wiping my ass with #6 grade sand paper, snorting a vinegar and hamburger fat mixture, while singing Amazing Grace, all for the chance of getting my name entered in a draw for the chance to win two theater tickets, or fifty dollars. The GRAND PRIZE of two airline tickets to Nigeria to see Britney Spears, and meet her backstage for an autograph session, have a non nude photo taken of her, plus a complete set of her whinings on cd, surprising as it may seem to you, does not interest me.

Look, I am in the publishing business, I know that radio is supported by advertising, and by the amount I hear on the radio, the owners of these stations are all Zillionaires. As I was parking at the grocery store one day the DJ said that Roxanne by the Police was coming up next. They were about twenty seconds into song when I got back into my car, TEN MINUTES LATER. I couldn’t believe it. It never used to be like any of this before. There were DJ’s who were knowledgeable, and spoke to you as if you were a listener with some intelligence. The commercials were reasonable in numbers, and the music WAS music. Radio has now become an insult to one’s level of intelligence and display of poor taste. How sad this is for a once respected medium for music. I hated Abba, but I found myself singing along to Dancing Queen one day, and then I realized something. The stuff that we thought was garbage back then, is better than most of what we have today. Yep. That’s the way it is. We’ve progressed? Really, where?

It came out of nowhere and it hit hard, consuming not only music, but society as a whole, everything changed. The Disco Era. They had Disco album burning rallies that were organized by “music” lovers at venues as large as baseball stadiums. They were well attended. Polyester suit, a multi coloured “Hawaiian Shirt” open at the top to reveal the gold chains around your neck, on which one of them hung a big gaudy gold medallion. Loafers, slicked backed hair, grease optional but encouraged, and a thick “police style” moustache rounded off the “look.” The place of worship was the Discotheque, which had unimaginably long lines in front of it most days, and every weekend. Cocaine was the drug of choice for the wealthy, now costing $60.00 to $80.00 a gram, was $180.00 a gram them, I know that because I read it somewhere of course. The Mecca of Disco’s was in New York, Studio 54, and it was the celebrity haunt of the day. EVERYBODY went there. The only way that the “ordinary” person was granted admission was by your “look.” A mass of people striving for the honour of being allowed through the sacred door would huddle outside. The door men would go around and “judge” those who were waiting, and if you were dressed outrageous enough, or beautiful enough, then they

may allow you to enter. In my opinion this practice was not only degrading to people, and therefore disgusting, but also morally bankrupt. The entire place was a sickening display of excess. Bianca Jagger, on her birthday, entered Studio 54 on the back of a white horse. A big neon “man in the moon” adorned one wall, with it’s hand moving up and down to its nose holding a spoon full of cocaine. It was smiling. Federal Marshals, armed with a search warrant, raided Studio 54 to seize the company records and books on suspicion of tax evasion hit the jackpot. In the safe located in the office they found not only the books that got the owners convicted on the tax evasion charges, but a sizeable amount of cocaine in a few bags, enough to lay charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking. Studio 54 was permanently closed, and the owners went to Federal Prison for several years.

Georgio Moroder, who wrote the music for Cat People, Nile Rogers, who worked with Bowie as a producer and a few others were the talent in this era. The rest, well, fucking horrible. The bad part was that Disco was MINDLESS, and it seeped into every nook and cranny effecting everything. The Rolling Stones, Miss You, and too many more songs they wrote were Disco. How does one go from Gimme Shelter, Monkey Man, Wild Horses and Angie to Woo Woo Woo Woo Woo, Woo Woo Woo Woo Woo, Woo Woo Woo Woo? Especially The Stones. I bet it wasn’t Richards idea. It not only got the Stones either, it got others too. Under the guidance of those who obviously have NO FUCKING RESPECT, took one, if not the most, important pieces of music ever made, demeaned, disrespected and degraded it beyond belief. Robert Fripp, and many other musicians, made their decision to make a career out of music after hearing this album. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was made into a movie, and in the process it was degraded in every way possible. How badly? Well, first off, starring in the “film,” I use that word loosely were one of the biggest names in DISCO, THE BEE GEES. Yes, Sgt. Pepper goes to the Disco. Add Peter Frampton. Had enough yet? Here is a review, “Impressively ridiculous, candy-colored, rock star-packed musical vaguely based on classic 60s album. Die-hard Beatles fans love it. Fans of goofy camp will also find its senseless and gauche style appealing.” If you ever swallow bad dope and need to puke, go to: http://www.stomptokyo.com/badmoviereport/sgt_pepper.html, and get the full story. I can’t handle telling you, I would have to be hospitalized.

If you look at the audience, you can see why the real talent during this era went unrecognized by the Disco crowd beyond it. As for Georgio Moroder, well, they would recognize his work on Donna Summer albums, and on the movie Flash dance. However his work with Jon Anderson of Yes, Roger Daltrey, Asia, Blondie and Freddie Mercury probably escaped them. Now add Cheap Trick, Kenny Loggins, David Bowie, Barbra Streisand, Janet Jackson, Cher, Olivia Newton-John, Elton John, Billy Squier, Bonnie Tyler, the list goes on too far, and you have a man who gets around. Add a few film scores such as Scarface, Midnight Express, Metropolis, Top Gun, and over twenty more, some Grammy and Golden Globe awards as well, and you get an idea of his talents. Guitarist Nile Rogers, and producer of Let’s Dance belongs here as well. In the late seventies Rodgers teamed up with fellow guitarist Bernard Edwards, to form the band Chic. Now, while dance bands may not be your personal preference, it is worth noting that the area of music that is known as R&B, became heavily influenced by what is known as, the “Chic” sound. The other members were Bowie drummer Tony Thompson, plus vocalists. Norma Jean Wright, and Alfa Anderson. Chic was not signed to any label when they recorded their first single, Dance Dance Dance. They shopped it around to the different labels, getting a poor reception, until it was picked up by Atlantic Records, and they signed CHIC. The

label was not aware at the time that they hit the mother load, you see, Dance Dance Dance sold over a million copies in ONE MONTH! Two more songs, Le Freak and Good Times, were also hits. A surprising number of other artists contributed to CHIC over the years, and many are Bowie related. Drummer Sterling Campbell, Heathen and Outside to name a few. Omar Hakim, the drummer on Let’s Dance, Lenny Pickett, who played the wind instruments on Heathen, as well as “those two.” in 84 and 87, and so did saxophone player, Stan Harrison. Add flute and sax player Steve Elson in with Pickett and Harrison. Richard Hilton, keyboards on Black Tie White Noise, and of course drummer Tony Thompson. Last, but certainly not least, the man who added so much soul to Young Americans, Luther Vandross.

This should be fascinating, as well as fun. Look at these.

Reunited – Peaches & Herb
Heart Of Glass – Blondie
Music Box Dancer – Frank Mills
Knock On Wood – Amil Stewart
Stumblin’ In – Suzi Quatro & Chris Norman In The Navy – Village People I Want Your Love – Chic

Goodnight Tonight – Wings
Take Me Home – Cher
He’s The Greatest Dancer – Sister Sledge
Hot Stuff – Donna Summer
Reunited – Peaches & Herb
Love You Inside Out – Bee Gees
We Are Family – Sister Sledge
Goodnight Tonight – Wings
Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) – The Jacksons Just When I Needed You Most – Randy Vanwarmer
In The Navy – Village People
The Logical Song – Supertramp
Love Is The Answer – England Dan & John Ford Coley

Do you want to REALLY KNOW how pioneering Bowie was? Do you want to REALLY KNOW how small and select a group of core listeners he had? Do you want to REALLY KNOW why his albums did not sell? DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE A BOWIE LISTENER BACK THEN? I can tell you in ONE sentence. Lodger came out in May of 1979, and those two song lists are the top ten songs from a pop chart from May and June of that year. Now do you see? Wow, I just realized something that I never thought of before, and it turns out to be a rather important discovery. There are FAR MORE CATEGORIES for music and “noise” now. We had only a few back then really. Today, well, Hip Hop, Rap, Techno, Disco, Grunge, Industrial, Ambient, New Age, Punk, Alternative, Rock, Dance, and it goes on forever I imagine, if you really want to make a complete list. Back then, there were less. Now, I may miss a few here because I never really paid attention to much of what I did not listen to. If I am in error please forgive me, this list is meant as a representation, and not as a complete guide to the genres of music in 1979. There was Disco, Rock, New Wave and Punk. Now, what I state here, as far as percentages are concerned, is based only on MY PERSONAL

RECOLLECTION of things at the time, and not on any studies. I am asking for you to trust me on this, but I want you to know that even though I strongly doubt it, I may be incorrect.

In 1979 Disco was all the rage. Everyone went to the Disco on Friday and Saturday nights. Who? Me? I won’t lie, ever, so, yes I did too. But hold on here, I never went on a regular basis, and this will exonerate me, my motives for going were not pure, in the least. You see “They” went home after work, ate, showered and then made the necessary preparations to go out. The opening of the door on their clothes closet revealed the hangers, on which hung their personal collection of the worst fabric Satan’s little helpers ever wove. Polyester. The stuff was stain resistant, machine washable and you could throw it in the dryer. it was worshipped, if not for those reasons, then it was for this one alone, it was “WRINKLE FREE!” No more IRONING, and without those wrinkles you always looked great. I guess the mirror had not been invented yet. Oh, and the colours, they were just spectacular. Lack of oxygen blue, lima bean diarrhoea brown, giraffe urine yellow, infection puss green, bathtub mould beige, cadaver grey, rotting Halloween pumpkin orange, gangrene black, rabies foam white and several other magnificent colours to be seen in. There is also a dazzling array of multi coloured polyester material on the market, and the clothes made from this material literally have to be seen to be believed. Tenth floor suicide splatter, pizza and binge drinking vomit, calico cat and steam roller, mouldy marzipan, and others.

Although it is difficult to imagine how such a product could ever be improved, they still spent a Baszillion Kazillion dollars, and put the best minds in the world on it. As improbable as it sounds, it turned out that the investment and the research was not in vain. It resulted in the discovery of “STRETCH POLYESTER.” This now meant that “full bodied” individuals would never have to worry again about finding clothes that fit. I know what you are fearing now, the loss of all of those lovely colours and shades to choose from? Do not worry, all the hues found in a garbage dump were saved, not only were they saved, they were enhanced. The colours themselves found in stretch polyester clothing are the same as in the regular line of fashion designs, only they are much brighter. They glow like neon would be an accurate description. Now, a forty year old man who is “well rounded,” meaning at 340 lbs. he is more “hearty” than your average person, can now do, what others do. He can shed his track suit forever. Imagine the feeling of freedom as he buttons up his blunt object trauma to the head polyester shirt, this is of course after he has “stretched” his rotting lettuce, brown with a few off green highlights, over the bottom half of his excessive frame, next comes his stool sample coloured jacket. As he applies the #6 grade grease recommended by the manufacturers of the rotating drill parts used on offshore oil rigs, he realizes that he now has freedom, he can do what other people do. You see, polyester was not just clothing, it was a liberator, and it freed many in the Disco sect. This man probably reflected on his personal empowerment through polyester as he demonstrated his moves to those around him on the Disco dance floor, wearing enough Old Spice cologne to kill a skunk, all to the beat of Golden Years. Oh, the mindset.

Isn’t that it though? The mindset. Bowie’s song DJ is a perfect commentary on the very mindset that was prevalent in this era. Everything about it had no substance or depth whatsoever. Disco was a “LOOK,”, as foolish as it was. Leisure suits, sexual freedom, the lack of morals did not kill you back then, gold chains, probably 4kt, fake rings. There was NOTHING BEHIND IT. Bowie wrote in DJ, “You think this is easy, realism.” A wake up call from an illusion? Sure. “I am a D.J., I am what I play,” says it all, and is in my opinion one of the best lines Bowie ever penned. So is this, “He used to be my boss

and now he is a puppet dancer. I am a D.J., and I’ve got believers.” If you look at all of the songs from the pop charts that I listed you will notice one thing in particular. Almost all of the songs are written about the same subject matter, boys and girls. How original. The subject matter of the music that was prevalent during this era truly represents the mentality of the majority of music listeners at the time. I know, I was there, and it was sad to see the level of mediocrity that the radio, the music, as well as the listeners had sunk.

Bowie, New Wave and Punk listeners I can assure you were not too interested in any activity required to “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground).” As far as “Love Is The Answer,” well, we had a different one. It was called a MIND. Rock music, another foolish label for something if you ask me, was divided into two main categories, Rock and Progressive Rock. In the Rock category were what you would call the “Heavy” rock bands, or the ones that were more “beat” oriented. Led Zeppelin, The Who, Nazareth, Bad Company, The Stones, Aerosmith, and others who were similar in musical style, fell into the “Heavy,” or “Beat” categories. The “Progressive Rock” bands focused on the music they composed, viewing it as a “creative” art form involving sound. Like painters, sculptors, film directors and other “artists,” they created through experimentation. The purpose of Rock was to fill you with energy, to make you move, while Progressive Rock was clearly aimed at the head, its purpose was to make you LISTEN. Genesis, Eno, Pink Floyd, Yes, Strawbs, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Hawkwind, Mike Oldfield, Roxy Music, Emerson Lake & Palmer, as well as similar artists, were all described as Progressive. Bowie? Well, the media in all of its glorious ignorance labeled him as “Rock.” The ones who were completely ignorant, idiots, morons, brain dead, fucked in the head, with a bit of stupidity added to the mixture, called Bowie’s work, “Glam Rock.” Now as difficult as this is to admit, I know full well that there are those who call themselves Bowie fans that also consider him to be “Glam Rock.” To those of you I want to say this, and I will say it only once. Go and listen to the music, and the subject matter, that comes from the likes of Gary Glitter, Sweet, T Rex, Kiss and the other Glam bands. Now, is Bowie’s music the same as these bands, is it simple three chord pop? Hmmmmm? How, about the lyrics? Was Gary Glitter, Kiss, or the others comparable in depth, subject matter, vocabulary, insight, perception and intelligence? Would you care to compliment Bowie personally on having the intelligence of Gary Glitter? Well? Okay, the clothes, the make up, the hair, and the rest of what makes up the “Glam Look.” What was Bowie’s look derived from? Do you know where? It was based on traditional Japanese Kabuki Theater, that Bowie had studied, and was very well educated about. Do you believe that the members of Sweet or Kiss studied art history? What then is their “look” based on, something of equal intelligence? Oh? Hmmmmm? So, may I ask what there is about Bowie which qualifies him to have all of the dignity and wisdom of these fine artists? The logic of a flea would be MORE than sufficient to rationalize the fact that to take an artist like David Bowie, and place him along side these others, would be in fact one of the GREATEST FUCKING INSULTS you could bestow on him! It is in fact YOU that qualifies as Glam Rock, not Bowie, or me either. Understand?

This I say is a fact, however I do not have any information to give you from second or third party to substantiate it this time, as I usually do. I say this from my encounters with other Bowie listeners of my generation. I am so sure of this that I can’t recall EVER crossing another where this was not the case. Really. Bowie fans had the Heavy and the Beat oriented music in their piles of albums at home. Some had a few, some had many, it depended on the individual. As I said, I can’t remember once where this was not the case, their preference was Progressive Music. They considered it far above

what “they” listened to in every aspect. The “other stuff” was frowned upon, so much so that they could be quite condescending when referring to it. Talking to fans of that era will show you that this has not changed one bit, even to this day, myself being the largest example one could ever find. New Wave was an interest, Punk was Iggy, this new Punk, well, it was attitude. Out of all of the songs listed on those pop charts, I can safely say that the ONLY ONE that I guarantee would be completely acceptable to Bowie fans as far as any depth goes would be The Logical Song by Supertramp.

I had my own Disco look. Long hair, jeans, canvass runners and a T-shirt that had this written on it, “There’s Old Wave – There’s New Wave – And There’s David Bowie. The picture on the front showed Bowie in a leather jacket leaning against a brick wall, head tilted, and looking really fucking “cool.” My shirt was NOT polyester, or worn with a dog puke off white leisure suit. I weighed 150 at the time so there was no need to stretch into anything, save a condom. Disco lights look great on acid I noticed sometimes, as I belted back Tequila Sunrises in my efforts to get really wasted, and marvelled at the stupidity of those who were prancing around showing off what they learned from the movie Grease. Their attempts to look normal in their open neck Hawaiian tourist shirts, poor fitting and cheap no wrinkle suits, two tone loafers, fake jewellery and cop moustaches was hilarious. The shallowness though, was pathetic. My motives for going to a Disco had no morals, were self serving, manipulative, ethically wrong and inconsiderate, it was to get laid. I was intelligent enough you see, to put two and two together. It was logic that led me to the conclusion based on the fact that if the girls who frequented these places were stupid enough to fall for this shit, then they would fall for pretty much anything. Sometimes I would even go on the dance floor to show off my moves. I would go out there and stagger around drunk and stoned to Fame. Terrible? Yes, but it worked.

This may very well be the last segment of Images for awhile.


Posted abt. June 2002

Images Part 34

bowie bingImages Part 34

These articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE” in alt.fan.david-bowie

An Unusual Part Thirty Four

Bowie’s videos are superior to most others for an interesting reason, and that is for what they DO NOT have in them, scantily clad bimbos. Bowie does not rely on SEX in his videos to sell his work, instead he relies on his creative talents as an artist to attract an audience. While most of the videos made to promote artists are aimed directly at the groin, Bowie’s are aimed at the mind. This is probably one of the reasons his work does not break any sales records, but it speaks volumes for his INTEGRITY as an ARTIST. I remember exactly when it was that I saw the video for Heroes for the first time. I was downstairs in our house watching some show, and my parents came down and said that they wanted the TV in a few minutes in order to watch a program. I asked them what they wanted to see, and they said the Bing Crosby Special. I said to them, “Great. It’s on this channel. I’m just waiting for it to come on.” My parents were accustomed to the Santa Monica 72 bootleg, music from Yes, Supertramp, Genesis, Pink Floyd and other similar artists emanating from my bedroom, not Bing Crosby. They both looked at me like I was on drugs or something, I was, but they couldn’t tell. Fuck Bing, the TV Guide said Bowie was a guest on the show. I must add here that as far as the drugs go, well, they were mandatory. You see, I had enough common sense to know that in all probability The Bing Crosby Christmas Special of 1978 would probably not feature Bowie near the beginning, I would have to wait anywhere from thirty, forty and possibly more than forty five minutes until he appeared. Do you understand what this meant? Endurance. I was not going to leave the TV and risk having my parents call me when Bowie came on, because they may forget, or remember halfway through his part. This meant that I would be required to endure the suffering associated with wholesome entertainment for the entire family. It was fucking horrid, awful, putrid, disgusting, vile and really bad on top of that. Physically I am not big, I do not go out and pick fights, and I can run.. Well, I can run faster scared than they can mad, put it that way. I am tenacious however, some would call it stubborn or obstinate. I will not give up, or give in, and in that sense I will stand up to anybody. I am tougher than Bing Crosby, and I had to be to weather what I did, and they threw everything they could at me.

I was assaulted by Bing personally, he sang several Christmas tunes. He doesn’t fight fair, you are not supposed to “gang up” on a person in a fight, it should be just you and your opponent. I may be mistaken because I was severely traumatized by this experience but, I think Andy Williams took a few shots at me as well. His singing did not hurt as much as Bing’s though. This however, I know for sure. He came at me a couple of times with his entire dysfunction family, wife, kids, cousins, you name it. I am not joking about the dysfunctional part either, one of his kids wrote a book that implied that sharp sticks inserted with a sledge hammer in the area of your body you sit on was much more preferable than having Bing as a father. Although he always looked and acted like a doting father in public, they never got to see some of his “moves” he used at home. It appears. he had a pretty good “right.” They all sat on a couple of couches arranged around a perfectly decorated plastic Christmas tree complete with fake presents underneath. There was also a lovely fake brick fireplace with a fake fire burning inside. I think Williams was there as well. First of all they all sang some Christmas Carols, like all families do at Christmas when they get together for the holidays and spend time enjoying each other’s company in their fake houses. They sit around their plastic trees decorated by set designers from Hollywood. The winter chills and howling winds from a twenty eight degree California winter are kept a bay by the warmth given off by the fake flames in a fake fireplace. I was still reeling from the singing when I got blind sided. Bing demonstrated that he would

stop at nothing, no matter how dirty it was, to try to make me run away to puke. He grabbed one of his nephews I think it was, the kid was around five or so. Instead of slapping him silly about the head, like he would at home, he plopped the kid on his knee and started reminiscing about Christmases gone by. Intermingled with this soliloquy of misery were examples of old fashioned family values. The beauty of the words recited by Bing were obviously scripted by a few of the best television drama writers in Hollywood, they probably work on the afternoon Soap Operas. The reason I believe this is because the sentimental warmth that was acted out by Bing was so good you could just see tears welling up in those who were tuned in. The real punch though, excuse the pun, was delivered at the end when Bing gave his advice on the importance of the family, and how much you need those who you love. I guess that is especially true, and Bing should know. I guess if you have an important fight coming up and need some practice, family members can be very important. I’m sure many families sit and talk about the “good” times on Christmas Eve while waiting for the morning when they can all open their beautifully wrapped empty boxes. My parents never moved, I thought at times that these sugar coated lies disguised as sentimental values would be too much even for them to swallow, and they would turn the channel to watch something better, like a channel where the station was off the air. Sometimes they hummed along. I almost didn’t make it, I needed those drugs.

There was a synthesized doorbell sound. Bing went to answer the door pretending that he didn’t expect to have the person who signed a lengthy worded legal contract prepared by high priced studio lawyers, and who received a fee after his lawyers examine the contract to make sure that he was being treated fairly, drop by. I couldn’t believe Bowie went on this show. In reality I couldn’t believe Bing would ALLOW him on this show. It doesn’t matter though, he was there. I can’t begin to explain the feeling I had as I watched Bowie upstage Bing when they sang their duet of Peace On Earth and The Little Drummer Boy. It was the most exhilarating wave of malicious delight I have ever had that swept over me. Bowie’s voice made Crosby look ridiculous. Bowie voice was marvellous, powerful, he was all over the scale, adding falsettos that were captivating in their beauty. Bing Crosby on the other hand sounded like a skinned cat who had been doused in turpentine, set on fire, and stuffed between two mattresses held together by duct tape. My parents hummed along with Bing.

It was the last thing I ever expected, and even if I did there is no way one could prepare themselves for the experience of seeing it for the first time. I didn’t even know there was a video made for Heroes, very few artists made any videos, and they were rarely shown on TV. Now, if you would have ever told me that I would see a non mainstream David Bowie appear on a Bing Crosby Christmas special, sing a duet with Bing and then see a performance of Heroes, I would have strongly suggested that you go and seek help immediately, because there is obviously something seriously wrong with you and it should not go untreated. I remember thinking, “Holy fuck,” as the first few notes of Heroes drifted out of the single billionth of an inch mono speaker we had on our 16″ RCA colour TV. Disbelief. It was akin to state of denial to what I was hearing that I first felt, or it could be the drugs. Indifference was my parents reaction. To tell you the truth this shocked me. You see, while not thinking they bought me a stereo for my room that I asked or as a gift. It was not the best one you could purchase but you could easily hear it across the street most days. Heroes was one of the few Bowie songs that I took to immediately, it was love at first listen, and I played it a lot. I do mean A LOT. I recall sitting there in amazement as to how these two people who live in the same

house, could not recognize what they were hearing after being exposed to it recently for most of the hours that they were awake. Nothing.

The first image of Bowie on the screen sent cold shivers up and down my spine. I got a rush. I remember cursing that there was no way to record this, and wondering if the day will ever come when you could record things from the TV. I concluded it would never happen. Even though Bowie was sporting normal coloured close cropped hair and wearing regular clothing, he still looked “different,” an outsider. I think it had a lot to do with his eyes, you can see them really well in the video, they made him look, well, alien. As far as the video goes, it was the lighting that “did it.” It was brilliant. To anyone who missed the Station To Station tour this video is a stunning example of what can be accomplished using only white light. The way the lighting was situated behind Bowie gave an eerie effect, especially the way it cast Bowie’s shadow. Bowie, I feel, could not have played the role better and the combination of him in that setting was spectacular in the least. Whereas the music videos rely on a series of scenes based around a written “story line” to convey the meaning of a song, Bowie used only “images.” It certainly isn’t difficult when you compare the video of Heroes to something from MTV to discern what constitutes art. Does Heroes tell a story? Well, no, but what it does do is send a message, but you are not TOLD what the message is. The true genius behind this video is that it is designed to be felt “EMOTIONALLY” by the viewer. The way it was filmed does a magnificent job of creating a feeling of starkness, cold and bleak, yet there seems to be an underlying warmth that is difficult to explain. These are my feelings about it anyway. Your feelings may differ, and this point is crucial. You see, even with the presentation of a visual image viewed in conjunction with the music, each person is still free to interpret the music and the images the way they want. The video does not TELL you what to think, instead it invites another “emotional” response, as art should.

Bowie, Peter Gabriel and a few others should be commended for their refusal to allow their music to be associated with mediocre repetitive story lines for the brainless. They should be complimented for realizing that sex already gets enough coverage in our society, without any further contributions from them, and therefore they choose to make video which is aimed at a different head. It is a pleasure to view something that is treated as an extension of one’s art, rather than a commercial to sell a product. I know that I have different feelings for Heroes when I hear it in the 78 the video, and then hear it in a Microsoft commercial. One conjures up feelings of joy, and the other methods of committing first degree murder. That is one thing that Bowie has always done for me with his work, and that is brought out some powerful emotions. The standard that Bowie would establish for his videos was set right from the beginning, and it was a very high one. It is always noticeable in Bowie’s videos that a great deal of thought went into each one, and this I feel remains true. I am not just saying this, because it is Bowie, but his videos are in almost every case, “something that you haven’t seen before.,” and in that regard set themselves in a much higher class compared to most others. May I go as far as to say that most are in a class by themselves? The three that came off of Lodger were no exception, even more so when you consider the year that they were made. DJ is overlooked in my opinion. I believe that I may look at that song in quite a different manner than most fans do, as I have never heard anyone make a similar statement regarding this track. I see parts of it as a “historical archive,” a brilliantly written comment which truly captures the period when it was written.

Those of you who are of the same generation as I am, the ones favoured by Almighty God because we were in our teens in the seventies, will be able to identify easily with this. The music that was normally on the radio could be described as “decent,” for the most part, or fucking incredible if you compare it to now. It just occurred to me that you never hear anyone mention what station they listened to the most. I would be very interested to know what people who grew up in that era thought of the DJ’s, compared to now. My interest comes only from the fact that I have never heard anyone’s comments, or opinions, on that subject. CHOM FM in Montreal was one fucking great station to listen to. Now I am going to freely admit that the station itself may be a bit over rated by me, because the music they played was decent enough that you could easily listen to CHOM all day and not get fed up with it. Now that I come to think about it, EVEN the now dreaded AM radio stations that have their drive by shooting, er, sorry, I mean drive home at five specials, were okay to listen to. Better than okay, actually. I remember Brown Sugar, Layla, Diamond Dogs., Take A Walk On The Wild Side, Round About, Games Without Frontiers, In The Court Of The Crimson King, Karn Evil Nine, Dream On, Funeral For A Friend, One Of These Days, Hide In Your Shell, Can’t Get It Out Of My Head, Aqualung, Let It Be, Won’t Get Fooled Again, I Don’t Like Mondays, Born To Run, My Sweet Lord, Psycho Killer, Band On The Run, #9 Dream, Lola and Wild World all getting lots of airplay on AM radio. What the fuck happened, anybody know? I remember getting up one morning and hearing all of Echoes, which is over twenty minutes in length. I remember them playing ENTIRE ALBUMS at times UNINTERRUPTED, and I mean uninterrupted. No breaks, no commercial and no fucking commentary. HEY! THAT’S IT! FINALLY. I could never quite put my finger on it. One of the major things that irritates me about the radio these days. It’s the commentary.

The DJ’s and other radio personalities never fucking shut up. They each seem to have a total of one sentence that starts when they first get on the air, and ends the day they retire. This may be a desirable thing to have if you host a talk show that is so bad that you have been turned down by every person who you invited on as your guest. This includes all those dead people, those who have not been born yet, the people in the costumes you couldn’t coax off the pages of Marvel Comics and the mannequin that kicked the shit out of you. You could not even get Celine Dione. This is the person who decided to take a two year hiatus and drop out of public view so her and her husband could make a tax deduction. Here’s some interesting trivia. It was actually Celine Diones husband who was the one to first discover her seemingly never ending swamp, er, sorry, I meant to say pool, of talent. He was not her husband yet, when this happened, he was still just their sixty two year old neighbour, named Rene. Now, Rene owned his own very unique, and successful business, at one time that catered to the more affluent members of society. His is a real rags to riches, then back to rags then to dressing up to look like Mark Anthony. This style of dress was necessary so he would look the part when his wife, dressed as Cleopatra, so they could be elevated and carried on platforms by people dressed as slaves over the heads of their invited guests and into an area made to resemble part of Egypt. This was all a perfectly crafted demonstration of just how much of a self serving display of arrogant posturing that you can get away with if you have money, and guests with strong stomachs, who can contain their laughter as they watch you HUMBLY renew your sacred wedding vows.

Rene came from a relatively poor family, they were all GOLD DIGGERS, in other words they were gold miners. Now, although both parents worked, because of the size of the family they were unable to put any of their one children through school, or assist any of him financially. One day however, a

ray of good fortune fell on Rene, he found some money, and a sizeable amount of money it was too. He found it actually in what looked to him like a lost, or a discarded, woman’s purse. It was quite peculiar how he found it. As it happened he was just waiting at a bus stop, he wasn’t looking at anything in particular when the corner of his eye just “caught” it. Rene thought to himself that it as fortunate he found it, and not someone else, because the brown purse was just hanging there, draped over the shoulder of a blond girl, who was wearing what he thought to be rather thick sun glasses. He rationalized that a purse hanging like that was bound to be taken by someone before long, so he decided not to leave it for some “junkie” to find.. He thought, as he bolted across a nicely manicured lawn and through a freshly trimmed hedge, that the girl’s dog, who was in some “funny” contraption with a big wooden handle on it, may pursue him as he fled. That however, did not happen, the girl’s seeing eye dog remained firm. Rene had the luck of the Irish when it came to finding things, he would just stumble on to them. He found a car once, in the street of all places. He found that there were many people who just left stuff they didn’t want laying around all over their houses .

With the six hundred and forty two dollars from his lucky find, Rene opened the business he had always dreamed of, since he was eleven, and mixed cocaine with Vick’s cherry favoured cough syrup with codeine, three Tylenol #3’s wrapped in a Kraft processed cheese slice, one hit of double purple micro dot, two hits of something they told him was either mescaline or worm pills for the cat, two nice lung fulls of Pam Cooking Spray and he was drunk on either Gelco Radiator Fluid, vodka, or Hugo Boss Cologne, he can’t recall which. It took awhile for the idea to catch on, giving people’s pet fish swimming lessons, but it did, especially among the wealthy. Many would just drop the fish off on the way when they were taking the family dog in for its “counselling” appointment with the animal psychologist. Rene was making a small fortune when it happened, he had sixty six outlets, and was offering home based lessons at a premium price, and then out of nowhere came the blow, one which he never anticipated. In two separate incidences in the same week, two of Rene’s students died , the coroner’s inquest determined that they had both drowned accidentally. Both of the resulting lawsuits were successful, and if he had the proper amount of insurance coverage he would have been fine, but this lesson came too late, everything he had was seized, and then sold with all of the proceeds going to the families of the victims. This part is the real tragedy. You see, Rene by this time Rene had built up a rather well known reputation for himself as a philanthropist. He would often go to Las Vegas and give women he only met once, out of court cash settlements.

Rene recalls with a great deal of warmth in his voice that he remembers he was in sitting in the back yard, wearing his favourite under shirt along with his lime green thong bathing suit, and celebrating his 66th birthday, along with some friends. He remembers thinking it rather odd that fourteen year old Celine was sitting with her feet on the trunk of her parents silver Chevrolet Impala, that was a favourite target of the repo man, who was so far unsuccessful.. This was of course before Celine’s father “set the bitch on fire,” so no one would have it. No one knows, even to this day, what prompted Celine’s father to take off in that car, without warning, and like a bat out of Hell with his daughter still outside.. Remember the “old” cars? The engines, 350’s, 427’s, V8’s, slant 6 and no aluminium, big metal blocks, some with four barrel carbs. Cars were METAL then, not fibreglass, plastic, recycled tin cans and aluminium foil. You never see polished chrome anymore, some of those grills were literally works of art. Then there was the room in them, you could lay down in the back seat to sleep. I always found it fascinating how the rear seats in those older cars could hold four

people easily on weekdays, yet only two on weekends. It’s a mystery. They had big trunks too, which in this case is lucky, because Celine, by some miracle, managed to remain on the trunk, but still oblivious to her father as the car accelerated to what Rene estimated to be around forty miles an hour. Celine did great, and she would have made it if the speed bump that her father did not slow down for, or try to avoid, wasn’t there. Every eye witness said the same, it was not her fault, from what they saw it was everyone’s unanimous opinion that there was no one would have made it. Her body went straight up and to the right as it departed from the trunk of the vehicle. On the way up she did an almost picture perfect two and a half, the only thing was her toes were not quite together. She got remarkable height, but it seems that the layout she did as the upward acceleration diminished, was sloppy at best. There was a desperate lack of body control, limbs flailing everywhere and grasping at nothing but air. This was all highlighted by a scream that Rene could not help but notice. It started at about middle scale with just a vocal noise. Now, although it did sound desperate, kind of void of any hope, surprisingly, it was not the least bit erratic, or out of key. It was not what one could describe as “powerful,” but the sustain of the note Celine demonstrated just before the word help, worked really well. The transfer of her body from the layout position into the half twist as she reached the summit, was much smoother, but her arms were not tucked in enough. For the vocal co-ordination however, she gets full marks, it was the best that anyone has ever seen, before or since. The word “help” was beautifully synchronized. The beginning of it was audible at the lower end of the scale, and at the very second that her upward motion had ceased, when she was literally suspended in space for a tenth of a second. Now, at the precise moment when half of her body was still partially laid out, and the other half rotating, and the realization comes that the journey has not yet ended, there is still half to go, her voice rose to a falsetto HALFWAY THROUGH A NOTE. I did not believe this, and I still have difficulty with it, but everyone who was there swears it happened. Right in the middle of the word “help,” she starts improvising, adding “AAhhhh’s.” After the half twist though it was reported that her moves were not recognizable any more, she seemed to lose her sense of perception, and not knowing up from down anymore caused a serious loss of body control. On the other hand though, the vocals were stunning, she held notes for periods of time that were breath taking, she was hitting and holding vast ranges of high notes, as well as low notes, intermingling lyrics with known sounds, and ones that came from her own personal style. She kept going too, giving it all she had until she hit the ground a slid partially under a bush. Everyone said that her voice was so beautiful and captivating, they did not want it to end and they all wished that she had fallen a lot farther.

Rene knew right away he had seen a falling star, this girl could sing, and not just well. The question of her becoming a star was not if, but when. As Celine lay there Rene started adding up what her talent could bring to him every year, he never said what it could bring him, but I am sure he meant happiness and joy. Rene realized that he had a situation on his hands similar to the other treasures he “found.” As he looked at her bruised body partially covered by vegetation, he noticed that there were thorns on some of the branches by where she was laying. He looked at his hands before he attempted to grab her by the waist to get her out. Always thinking of people first, Rene was determined that there would not be any more injuries today, noticing that he didn’t have a mark on himself, he tenderly pulled Celine out by her ankles, after putting on a pair of gardener’s gloves of course that some one handed him, and as he picked her up she half woke up to see her Knight In Shining Armour. Celine claims that she was fine after the accident because, as she says, “the asphalt broke her fall.” I think these statements indicate something else.

Rene brought Celine the short distance to his house, he wanted her to sit for a few minutes to rest. Not being used to someone fawning over her, her gratitude was sincere when she thanked Rene after biting into the sardine, peanut butter, cheese and turnip sandwich he made her. Nobody really took much interest in her at home to really sit down and talk to her. It was difficult for her growing up without two parents. Her mother was killed in a freak airplane accident when Celine was nine. Although they never learned all off the details during the six month inquiry that was done by the FAA, they do know this much. It was definitely a commercial aircraft, but they refused to reveal which airline operated it, sighting that it was not “need to know” information. The cause of the tragedy was the result of “human” error, and not due to any mechanical failure. It was determined that it was an unsecured cap was the sole cause of the accident. It was further ruled by the panel of aviation experts that a “determining factor,” was the altitude of the aircraft at the time of the mishap. It was through the simple failure to properly close, secure and lock a cap by one, or more, of the Pump And Drain Engineers on the Sanitation Crew, which allowed the contents of the airplane’s lavatory to escape from the containment, tank and become separated from the aircraft. Had the plane been at a lower altitude at the time, Mrs. Dion would have become “contaminated,” by the “mixture,” however not seriously injured. It was because the plane was at an altitude determined to be 33,000 feet at the time, the “mixture” froze on the way down. Mrs. Dion had no way of surviving the impact when it struck her while she was out in the back yard beating the family dog for pissing in the pot of Irish Stew she was preparing for dinner. Celine was close to her mother before the Lord saw fit to “call her home,” and the void left in her life was never filled. Her father was a hard working man, and therefore not around very much. His daytime job was counting grass seed at the local factory to make sure each bag was filled according to company specifications before being shipped off to the retailers. He had been at this job for only a short time, after losing his prestigious position with his former employer, due to a medical condition.

He had managed, out of fear of what others would think, to keep his severe dyslexia hidden from everyone, including his parents, since childhood. It was due to this condition that he firmly believed that the bid red octagon shaped sign said “POTS,” and not “STOP.” This is the only reason he did not even slow down as his Ice Cream Truck proceeded through it, and he became an uninvited participant in the Pride Of The City annual parade about a quarter way through. The newspaper the following day called it a “miracle” that the guy who makes animals out of balloons for kids was not killed, or seriously injured, after he flew over the heads of those who were lined up at the side to watch the parade, and after doing what the paper described as “several decent bounces,” landing between a fire hydrant and a parking meter. While defending himself, unsuccessfully, in Traffic Court, the truth about his condition was revealed and he lost his drivers licence, and therefore his job as well. He lost his private pilots licence and his qualifications as a Federally Licensed Proof Reader, sometimes working on a part time basis for the Government of Canadian ensuring that the spelling was correct on the schematic diagrams of the safety systems on the CANDU Nuclear Reactors which are responsible for preventing a meltdown. The loss of his job driving the ice cream truck was devastating on him, as it took his pride away. It wasn’t only the fact that he worked for the company a little over twenty six years, but also what he accomplished while there. In his more sentimental moments he would recant the story of how he worked his way up from pushing a cart in the park, to driving the “FLAGSHIP” of the company’s fleet. He would tell you how he worked the stadiums, football, baseball and the hockey arenas too. He would tell you a about the parts of the

big games he managed to see, or concerts, when he wasn’t bent down over his ice chest.

He was a gentleman, a shy sort of man, and he never boasted about himself. This is the only reason he rarely told anyone the fact that he once held the World Record for pitching an ice cream sandwich, and he came second in the popsicle division. The participants were judged not only on distance, but accuracy, he would always add. On a rare occasion a visitor to the family’s home may be show the den, it was here where the walls were adorned with the various awards he won over the years, and the shelves were lined end to end with trophies. If you named it you can bet he won it. The amount of sales achievement awards were unbelievable, every flavour of popsicle, and any type of bar, you could name was there, along with all the Vendor Of The Month, and Vendor Of The Year plaques. His modesty prevented him from telling you that he had a shit load more in boxes in the garage. Ironically there were a few plaques in recognition of his “accident free years.” These were of course all previous to his summary convictions of dangerous driving, failing to yield, obtaining a state licence under fraudulent pretences, three counts of uttering a false statement, submitting a false document, forging a document and wilfully supplying or giving information you know to be false or misleading to a state agency.

His modesty, which prevented him from telling his guests that he had shit load more awards in boxes in the garage, is the same reason very few heard of the world record for tossing an ice cream sandwich the furthest, with accuracy. The only time you would hear it was when he was piss drunk on his favourite, Benny’s Better Chardonnay , red wine, usually discounted, or when he was painting the inside of the house and he got wasted from inhaling the solvent. He never talked about the things he did to help others, or things he was rewarded for. The stories that were told about him, and circulated by word of mouth in the lunchroom or toilet, were stuff of legends. He once pushed his cart for six hours with TWO FLAT TIRES, rather than quit. The real testament to him was when the refrigeration unit failed on another driver’s truck on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year, All attempts by the other driver failed, and he was certain he was going to lose the entire load,. All of the older drivers recall the frantic pleas for help as the driver watched the thermostat rising, – 20, -18, -10. Dion was approaching the most lucrative spot in town, a twelve building state owned housing complex on welfare day. Even with the knowledge of huge commissions, they usually bought Drumsticks and up, Dion turned his vehicle around and rushed to the other drivers aid. Now, along the way he was pulled over for speeding, and after making the cop aware of the severity of the situation, and having no time to spare, he begged the cop for a POLICE ESCORT, and he got it. The temperature in the truck was well above freezing when he arrived, it was a serious situation, things were getting soft. Dion tried a few things, only to have his attempts fail. There were only minutes left, yet Dion was calm, even under the tremendous pressure. All was nearly lost when Dion single handily “hot wired” the refrigeration unit, saving both the driver, and the load. He got a letter of commendation from the company, and a set of pens.

Celine enjoyed the fact that Rene asked a lot of questions, and seemed truly interested in hearing the answers. He asked her how old she was, and when she replied fourteen, he asked if she was married. The answer, Celine fondly recalls, seemed to delight him. The thing Celine remembers the most about her first time with Rene, was how caring he seemed to be. In an obvious display of concern. She said Rene gave her some valuable advice. he first told her that he could tell that she had a promising voice just from the shrill sounds of terror that she expelled on her descent to the

ground, after “flying” off of the trunk of her father’s Impala. Rene went on to explain that the “real” world can be a tough place at times, and there are those out there who prey on others who are less street’ smart. This can be especially true in places like New York, Los Angeles and other big cities. The entertainment industry, he said was ripe with talent agencies that appear reputable on the outside, and you later discover that they are in fact operated by agents who are…….Rene paused. “MONSTERS.” He, paused again looking pensive. Looking deeply into Celine’s eyes Rene told her that at fourteen she was not a kid, and besides, she was a well educated girl, having had four more years of formal schooling than Rene. He respected her and therefore was just going to spit it out knowing she could handle it. “PREDATORS,” he said. “PREDATORS.” They will eat you up, rob you, use you,, take it all, and when you are no more use to them, they will spit you out, like used Bazooka Joe Double Bubble cherry flavoured chewing gum, that you can buy for five cents, and has a little comic inside. He told her that this was not to sound at all like he was questioning how smart she was, but a girl like her was “ripe” picking for one of them. The only reason for this he said was not because she was dumb, but because they had been at it so long they new every angle, and that she may be a bit naive when it came to these “tricks” used by these unscrupulous, manipulative users. Celine was infatuated by this as no one had ever cared for her so much, or respected her. He went on to say some of those managers “take advantage” of girls in, more ways than one. The terrible thing though is they normally take “commissions” of eighty five to ninety five percent, where as a reputable manager only takes seventy to seventy five percent. He told Celine that in his opinion that was way too much, he said if it were him he would only take sixty percent because he is not greedy and money hungry like them. Celine was deeply moved.

Rene barely gave a second thought to the Federal charge of the illegal transportation of a minor across state lines. Noting that Celine was still rather “fuzzy” from the blunt trauma blow to the
head, she still looked at least “half together,” and this is why he ascertained that there was no better time than the present to ask her a very important question. It was then he proposed to her. He suggested they get married in Las Vegas. Just the thought of what a great adventure it would be to hitch hike with Rene to Las Vegas was enough, let alone get married to a wonderful man. When her eyes uncrossed she readily agreed.. The woman at the marriage registry never questioned anything. To marry a girl of fourteen, a signature from a parent giving permission was required. Rene stood talking to the woman wearing a George Bush Halloween mask, explaining that Celine was his daughter from Botswana that he adopted through a relief agency. The woman did not question the President Of The United States, as she handed him the marriage certificate. The rest, well, is history. During her two year absence from the public eye, she still allowed herself to have her picture on the cover of every magazine you could name. In addition she let her words be heard by never refusing an interview to anyone. Her interviews for the Bangladesh Times, Kosovo Herald, Afghan Daily, and the Iran Sunday Edition newspapers made wonderful reading. Her “image” also appeared for thirty minutes, twice a day for 365 days, on “talk shows.” Missing the glare of the cameras Celine would walk around holding a camcorder aimed at her face while asking herself questions, all this time Rene illuminated her with a flashlight containing rechargeable Eveready Heavy Duty batteries he bought on sale from Wal-Mart.

Okay now, back to what I was talking about. Shit, I forgot. What was I talking about again? I can’t remember. Damn it. Oh, yeah, Bowie. Let me finish……..

And if you thought otherwise, and doubted me, I hope this straightens things out. Oh, and by the way, I am not finished yet, there is a lot more to go. So there.

Posted 23 June 2002


Images Part 33

These articles are RePosted from a user named “AlaDINsaNE” in alt.fan.david-bowie

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 alt.fan.david-bowie


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, alt.fan.david-bowie. 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 alt.fan.david-bowie

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 alt.fan.david-bowie

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 alt.fan.david-bowie, 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: alt.fan.david-bowie

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: alt.fan.david-bowie

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