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An emotional David Bowie sings ‘Imagine’ on the third anniversary of John Lennon’s death, 1983
02.03.2016
11:38 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
John Lennon


 
Although I can easily think of better circumstances for its recent unveiling, at long last a much bootlegged (audio only) and highly emotional performance by David Bowie of John Lennon’s “Imagine” on December 8th, 1983—the third anniversary of the Beatle’s murder—at the Hong Kong Coliseum has surfaced on YouTube.

Incredibly the number was caught by the cameras of Gerry Troyna, director of Ricochet, the (frankly unremarkable) cinéma vérité documentary of 1983’s “Serious Moonlight” tour as it was winding down in the Far East. Bowie is seem walking about Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, shopping and getting his fortune read, but there are few actual musical numbers in the film, usually a result of producers being unable to pay for the sync rights of the songs. This would, I should think, explain who such an amazing piece of footage was cut from the film. It would have simply been too expensive to include.

In an interesting interview that was posted at The Voyeur, backup singer George Simms was asked about the performance:

During the last show of the tour in Hong Kong, Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ was played. How did that develop?

George Simms: If I remember well, we didn’t rehearse that song. The night David did the ‘Imagine’ song, none of us in the band had any idea how that song was going to come off. David told us before, at a certain point, he would cue the band to start the song instrumentally. We didn’t know what he was going to do in the beginning but he had it very carefully worked out with the lighting people. We were on stage and it was dark. David was sitting on the stage at one particular place and, all of a sudden, a single spotlight went on David and hit him exactly where he was sitting. David started to tell something about John Lennon. During this, it went dark a few times again, but then when the spots went on again David was sitting somewhere else on the stage. David cued the band and we started the song. It was the third anniversary of Lennon’s death; it was December 8. We all grew up listening to The Beatles and John Lennon. After we did “Imagine,” we all went off the stage and back into the holding area. Normally we’d be slap-happy, talking and laughing, but that night there was absolute silence because of all the emotion of doing a tribute to John Lennon—especially knowing that David was a friend of his and that David was speaking from his heart. We didn’t know how dramatic the lights’ impact was going to be. Nobody wanted to break the silence; it was like a sledgehammer into your chest. I’ll never forget that.

I don’t want to spoil this in any way, except to say that it begins with Bowie speaking of his friendship with Lennon—with whom he and Carlos Alomar co-wrote and recorded “Fame” together, of course in 1975—and of the final time he saw him, which was in a Hong Kong marketplace where Bowie asked Lennon to don a replica Beatle jacket, and took a photo.

Fun fact: Lennon and Bowie were first introduced by Elizabeth Taylor when both attended a party at her home in Los Angeles in 1974.
 

 
Thank you very kindly Spencer Kansa!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Incredible fly-on-the-wall footage of David Bowie rehearsing for his 1995 ‘Outside’ tour
01.23.2016
12:35 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


David Bowie in 1995, photo by David LaChapelle
 
The rehearsals for David Bowie’s Outside tour of 1995—the one where Nine Inch Nails were the opening act/co-headliner and Trent Reznor performed with the headliner, too—began in NYC at Complete Music Studios. They later continued at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center, an auditorium at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where Bowie’s backing group—Reeves Gabrels and Carlos Alomar on guitars; Gail Ann Dorsey, bass guitar, vocals; Zack Alford, drums; Mike Garson, piano; George Simms, backing vocals, keyboards; and musical director Peter Schwartz on synthesizer—were joined by Reznor and his band.

Bowie told HUMO magazine about the tour:

I personally did like the combination of NIN and me, but my fans didn’t. Bad luck! It also was an extremely young audience, between about 12 and 17 years old. My starting point was simply: I’ve just made an adventurous album, what can I do now to turn the concerts as adventurous. Looking at it in that way, it seemed logical to confront myself with the NIN audience. I knew it would be hard to captivate them by music they never heard, by an artist whose name was the only familiar thing.

Since this footage is Reznorless, I think it’s safe to assume that this might have been shot at one of the NYC rehearsal dates. Shot with a hand-held camera, it’s a marvellously fly-on-the-wall document with excellent audio. It’s obviously taken from a very low generation video source. Watch this one while you can, as I doubt it will be on YouTube for very much longer.
 

 
Hat tip to Douglas Hovey of Bridgeport, CT!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Tin Machine: When David Bowie was just the singer in the band
01.20.2016
10:45 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Tin Machine

01tinmac.jpg
 
David Bowie found that being a superstar in the 1980s was “not terribly fulfilling.” He started the decade with a massively successful album Let’s Dance and world tour. It made him very rich. It also brought commercial expectations to write another album of pop hits to make him and his record company even more money. But hard commerce and creativity rarely endure.  Bowie soon discovered that he had less creative independence to make the music he wanted. After the negative reception to his follow-up albums 1984’s Tonight and Never Let Me Down in 1987, he launched his massive Glass Spider tour. It made plenty of money, too, but with a set-list of greatest hits the tour looked like the Thin White Duke was rehearsing for a residency in Las Vegas.

In 1989, Bowie formed Tin Machine with guitarist Reeves Gabrels and the Sales brothers—drummer Hunt and bassist Tony. The band had grown out of jam sessions. The Sales had played with Bowie when they had backed Iggy Pop together in the 70s. Gabrels met Bowie during his Glass Spider tour and collaborated together on a reworking of the Lodger song “Look Back in Anger.” Tin Machine was structured as a “democratic unit.” Each member had an equal say. Bowie described himself as just the singer. Their intention as a band was to play “back to basics” music—hard rock, low production, no over-dubs.

They recorded over 30 songs in six weeks. Bowie enthused in interviews how liberating it was to write songs in collaboration with his bandmates. Of being able to share an idea and have it taken in an utterly different direction. Their 1989 debut album, the eponymously titled Tin Machine sold well enough but was savaged by the critics. The sales were in large part down to Bowie’s loyal fanbase and the band had a successful world tour. Then Bowie took a year off to do his solo Sound + Vision outing. In 1991, Tin Machine regrouped and released Tin Machine II—which received even worse reviews than their first record and led one music magazine (Q) to ask the question: Are Tin Machine crap?

Though both albums have noteworthy tracks, the main problem with Tin Machine is its being a “band” and not a David Bowie solo project. Having four equal partners in a group works best when there are four members of equal ability. Bowie was too talented, too clever and too damned good to share equal billing with three musicians for hire.

The critics may have been overly harsh in their judgment of the band—some even dared to suggest Bowie’s career was finished. But in truth, Bowie needed Tin Machine to purge what had been—what had gone wrong—so he could start again evolving again as an artist. This led to a return to form with his first solo album of the 1990s—Black Tie, White Noise.

More Tin Machine after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
A night spent hanging out with David Bowie and Iggy Pop: Ivan Kral tells us what it was like
01.18.2016
01:47 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Iggy Pop
Ivan Kral

David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Ivan Kral
David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Ivan Kral in Berlin, 1979

This is a guest post by Ivan Kral, a musician/songwriter, as well as the director of The Blank Generation, a documentary concerning the ‘70s New York punk scene. Catch up on Ivan’s long and interesting career via this previous Dangerous Minds post, which focused on his years working with Iggy Pop.

After David Bowie’s recent passing, Ivan shared a story of a night he spent hanging out with Iggy and Bowie.

Sometime in 1979, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and I walked to a Berlin apartment from a small, dingy studio—where we were just playing for fun and weren’t working on anything specific—a few blocks away. The entry key was in a “secret hiding place,” which was inside the torn pocket of a mustard-colored overcoat hanging on the hall wall, where anyone could’ve found it.

Once inside, we smoked marijuana, but were still lucid afterwards. David sat down on the sofa in front of the TV that was playing old silent movies, the kind where the actors appear to move quickly or in bizarre sequences because real film cameras hadn’t been invented yet. As there wasn’t any sound, text like, “They wouldn’t let the dog take dancing lessons anymore,” would appear on screen, and then cut to young ladies making exaggerated movements.

I watched the film because David watched the film, and I wanted to be like him. He alternated between thumbing through books on the coffee table and then looking up at the TV—back and forth, back and forth. So I did, too. Iggy announced he had taken some L.S.D. earlier, and offered some to us. David declined, so I did, too.
 
Iggy Pop and David Bowie
 
I copied David’s every move as he looked curiously at each page in a book. The book I was looking at was unique because it had photos of small tree branches that were trimmed upward with a slant skyward, as, apparently, doing so might create a little dent. When a raindrop lands on the angled tip it won’t be able to slide off, so it hugs the newly exposed angled end where it could rot and/or mold, then freeze and kill new flower buds next season. When I shared my discovery with David it blew his mind. He’d look at the book and then stare off into space, repeating several times, “One raindrop can bring down an entire forest,” which I found very profound. I still can’t relax when I see someone outside cutting down trees.

Still sitting on the sofa, David crossed his legs, so I did, too. Soon Iggy emerged from the bathroom wearing mismatched socks and girl’s underwear. He had too much energy for the small place, so he left to walk up and down the halls.

David smiled at the flapper girls on TV doing the Charleston, so I did, too. Before he disappeared again, Iggy draped a bed sheet over his body so it looked like a toga. David just stared past him at the starlets still dancing on TV, so Iggy left in a huff, marching back into the hall. David and I continued with our discussion, trying to figure out how many branches are on a tree. We obsessed over it for quite some time that night.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
Clock tower in Norway to chime songs by Bowie and Motörhead every day until the end of May

A fantastic but sadly fake
A fantastic, but sadly fake “photo” of David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister (see the actual photo of Lemmy and his French girlfriend, here)
 
The clock tower that stands on the grounds of City Hall in the capital of Norway, Oslo, has marked the passing of the hours with musical interludes for many years. Now at six and seven pm respectively, the 49 bells in the tower’s carillon will play “Changes” from David Bowie’s 1971 album Hunky Dory and, the track “Electricity” from what sadly turned out to be the last record Lemmy Kilmister would record with Motörhead, 2015’s, Bad Magic.
 
The music of Motorhead and David Bowie to play from the clock tower on Oslo City Hall through May 31st
The music of Motorhead and David Bowie to play from the clock tower on Oslo City Hall through May 31st

In an interview with Oslo Town Hall’s carillonist, Laura Marie Rueslaatten Olseng, after seeing how many of her fellow Oslo residents were affected by Lemmy’s passing, she felt that the lyrics to “Electricity” reflected “an attitude that fit Oslo very much.” After Bowie’s untimely passing, Olseng said that there was “no discussion” and the choice was made to add “Changes” to the clocks daily musical rotation which also includes music from Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, and John Lennon. The clock tower will play both songs daily until May 31st. You can listen to the bells chiming for Bowie below, and the belfry belting out Motörhead, here.
 


The clock tower at City Hall in Oslo, Norway chiming to David Bowie’s “Changes.”
 
h/t: Metal Hammer

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The worst Bowie tribute
01.14.2016
11:10 am

Topics:
Fashion
R.I.P.

Tags:
David Bowie


 
(You’ll note that I didn’t end the title with a question mark.)

If you’ve ever toiled at a daily newspaper—I worked at the LA Times for a year once—then you’ll know how many layers—copy editors, photo editors, editor editors, graphic designers—are between what you initially write and what ends up on the printed page. Eventually whatever text the original writer got the ball rolling with, is pounded like a sheet of tin into the official “voice” of the publication by many often very opinionated hammers as it is pushed down the assembly line towards the printing presses. At any point, a concerned party might ask “Are you sure about this?” and then perhaps there would be further debate.

And this is what makes this item—ostensibly a fashion tribute to the late David Bowie taken from the pages of a newspaper in New Zealand—all the more perplexing.

Who along the way looked at this at any stage in its production in the hallowed halls of the Timaru Herald and gave the thumbs up?

Take a moment to absorb the magnificent and dumbfounding stupidity of it all. Imagine any workplace conversations that took place before, during and maybe even after this glorious idiocy saw print. It’s not successful on any level. Not as “fashion” reporting, and certainly not as a tribute to one of the greatest fashion icons in all of history. It’s got no information that’s useful, or even entertaining whatsoever. It’s just ludicrous from top to bottom. Arguably there might be worse Bowie tributes out there, but this one, I think you’ll agree is at least, as my mother might say… “different.” Certainly it’s the worst Bowie tribute that Smash Mouth weren’t involved with.

Click here for a larger view.

H/t Anorak

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Bowie, Elvis, Warhol ‘Black Star’ connection: Popism eats itself

wkgfynr
 
Like everyone else on this planet, I feel the loss of David Bowie like a black hole in my heart and this sets me searching and thinking and finding weirdness a go-go (and everything tastes nice). After watching the new video for “Lazarus,” I was left chilled to the bone as though it was recorded as he was dying, and as if he were speaking directly to me. The whole thing with UK newspapers saying there are “clues” all over Blackstar and all that “Paul is Dead” sorta stuff. Except David Bowie is dead. I mean he is dead, right? Then I was alerted to the unreleased song “Black Star” recorded by Bowie’s birth mate (everyone knows they share a birthday of course) Elvis!
 
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This track was recorded for a 1960 film that was originally to be called Black Star but that wound up being retitled Flaming Star instead.

The original recording sat in the vaults until the 1990s when it became available to the public. Besides sharing a birthday with the King of Rock and Roll, Bowie was very interested in and influenced by Elvis, too, so there would be no reason to think that he wouldn’t have been aware of this song, with its aptly chilling lyrics that could be applied to Bowie’s end of life situation…

Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

When I ride I feel that black star
That black star over my shoulder
So I ride in front of that black star
Never lookin’ around, never lookin’ around

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

One fine day I’ll see that black star
That black star over my shoulder
And when I see that old black star
I’ll know my time, my time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

 
Here’s Elvis’ “Black Star”:
 

 
And Bowie’s “Blackstar”...
 

 
...with its own chilling and obscure lyrics:

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes

On the day of execution, on the day of execution
Only women kneel and smile, ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, at the centre of it all
Your eyes, your eyes

Ah-ah-ah
Ah-ah-ah

In the villa of Ormen, in the villa of Ormen
Stands a solitary candle, ah-ah, ah-ah
In the centre of it all, in the centre of it all
Your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

How many times does an angel fall?
How many people lie instead of talking tall?
He trod on sacred ground, he cried loud into the crowd
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster)

I can’t answer why (I’m a blackstar)
Just go with me (I’m not a filmstar)
I’m-a take you home (I’m a blackstar)
Take your passport and shoes (I’m not a popstar)
And your sedatives, boo (I’m a blackstar)
You’re a flash in the pan (I’m not a marvel star)
I’m the great I am (I’m a blackstar)

I’m a blackstar, way up, oh honey, I’ve got game
I see right so white, so open-heart it’s pain
I want eagles in my daydreams, diamonds in my eyes
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a star star, I’m a blackstar)

I can’t answer why (I’m not a gangster)
But I can tell you how (I’m not a flam star)
We were born upside-down (I’m a star star)
Born the wrong way ‘round (I’m not a white star)
(I’m a blackstar, I’m not a gangster
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar
I’m not a pornstar, I’m not a wandering star
I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)

In the villa of Ormen stands a solitary candle
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes
On the day of execution, only women kneel and smile
Ah-ah, ah-ah
At the centre of it all, your eyes, your eyes
Ah-ah-ah

And as all things in pop culture eventually lead back to Andy Warhol, the kicker for me is that as I was looking into this I realized that all the infamous Warhol Elvis silkscreen art that you have seen your whole life is from (of course) a still photo from Flaming Star. And I don’t have to remind you that Bowie played Warhol in the 1996 film Basquiat do I? More will be revealed, I’m sure. It’s like that Kennedy and Lincoln coincidence thing, isn’t it?
 
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Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
‘She asked for my love and I gave her a dangerous mind’: Goodbye David Bowie from Dangerous Minds
01.11.2016
03:58 pm

Topics:
Art
Heroes
Music
R.I.P.

Tags:
David Bowie


 
As—ahem—some of our readers may have noticed over the years, the late David Bowie has always been our patron saint here at Dangerous Minds. You might say he was our spirit animal. Below, three of our writers pay tribute to the Thin White Duke and contemplate a world without David Bowie in it…

***

Christopher Bickel: Let’s be honest. At Dangerous Minds there are certain subjects that we have covered rather extensively. We’ve taken our share of good-natured ribbing over that fact that we jock Bowie hard and often. It goes without saying that the writers here are going to have something to say on this day when we celebrate the career and legacy of one of the true giants of the rock and roll era.

No celebrity death has emotionally affected me to this degree. We haven’t had a musician pass who was so universally loved for their talent and influence since the assassination of John Lennon. Michael Jackson, maybe, but his legacy was so tainted by the time of his death. Bowie’s life and artistic output remained inspiring up until the very end. Last November when the video for “Blackstar” dropped, I remarked that it was a “masterpiece.” Little did I know, then, that it was Bowie’s “parting gift” to us all. Certainly he knew.

I loved Bowie from the first time I heard him—which was “Rebel Rebel” on the radio. But as a kid, I thought the words I was hearing were “Grandma, Grandma—who tore your dress?” I remember at the time thinking “it’s really rude of this singer to call his grandmother a ‘tramp’”—but also kind of cool. I was wrong about the words I was hearing, but I wasn’t wrong about loving the music.  The man never put out a bad record. Sure, there’s varying degrees of quality in his catalog, but I challenge anyone to name a single Bowie record that “flat out sucks.” You can’t.

It’s hard to pin down a favorite. I called it as Low for years, but I’ve eventually settled on Scary Monsters as my top pick. New Wave Bowie is my guy. Bowie knew how to pick a backing band, and Fripp just kills it on that record. Reeves Gabrels later picked up that torch and THIS VIDEO from 2006 of “Scary Monsters” is absolutely scorching—and is as good as any Bowie performance from any point in his career. That’s the thing: Bowie remained relevant and exciting as both a writer and performer all the way until the very end. There will never be another. 

***
 

 
Martin Schneider: What is there to say? One mark of an artist’s power is a general inability on the audience’s part to imagine our world in their absence; we’re all experiencing that weird pang right now, big time. No rock star was more forward-looking or incorporated so many different cultural streams; it shouldn’t be surprising that his influence and resonance have only increased over the years. He was a cultural vampire, in the best sense; he took from everybody and he never aged.

As a teen, I found Bowie incredibly intriguing but also a bit chilly (Pink Floyd was easier); it took me a long time to warm up to him. Of course I did, finally—he’s inescapable, after all. As I get older he strikes me as the very best, the most mature and the most complex, that a rock star can realistically be.

So long, Star Man.

***
 

 
Richard Metzger: I first heard of David Bowie when I very first started listening to pop music. My interest in Bowie was probably what got me interested in music to begin with. I was eight and it was early 1974. A local AM radio station played “Space Oddity” at 11pm one night and I happened to be be up late listening and had my young mind totally blown into a million pieces. That song entered my consciousness and exploded there, rearranging my outlook on the world like nothing had before and like nothing has ever since, I can promise you. It was, for me personally, probably the Ur-epiphany of my entire life. But I didn’t catch the name of the singer or the song. The next night, at the exactly same time, the DJ played it again, and then the following night he spun it again. This time I was ready. I taped it with my $30 Sears cassette recorder, the mic held up to the clock radio’s speaker. Soon afterwards I had the 45rpm record and soon after that—a matter of just days—I had the ultra-heavy single only version of “Rebel, Rebel” (a record cut so loud that it threatened to blow out your speakers, as anyone reading this who owned it can attest to). My parents were okay with buying me a 99 cent single from time to time, but an LP (which might’ve cost about $4.98 then) was out of the question and I needed to have everything David Bowie-related. Immediately if not sooner.

So I did yard work and gardening around the neighborhood—weed-pulling to be exact, I was too young for pushing a lawn mower around—to be able to afford first Diamond Dogs, then in fairly rapid succession Aladdin Sane, Pin-Ups, The Man Who Sold the Word, David Live, Young Americans, etc. (Oddly enough, it would be Ziggy Stardust that I acquired last and it remains my least favorite of the pre-ChangesOneBowie catalog.)

And then I saw that they were repeating “The 1980 Floor Show” on The Midnight Special. I don’t think I was ever the same again after I saw that. It was a powerful and visceral lesson in… well… something. I was too young to know exactly what it all meant, but I did know intrinsically what he—David Bowie as an iconic entity—meant. Bowie-fandom was closer to a religion than a hobby. It was a revelation, you might say.

I would scour the TV Guide hoping for a Bowie-sighting and—in lieu of a VCR—I’d tape the audio on my cassette recorder whenever he appeared on things like Soul Train, Dinah!, Cher and the Grammy Awards telecast. I listened to them so many times that 35 years later I would see them again on YouTube and I’d know each and every word. On Dinah! he invited Dr. Thelma Moss on as one of his hand-picked guests, a UCLA professor who was known for investigating the science of Kirlian photography. This was in 1976 and I would have been, at that point ten and in the 5th grade. My Bowie-fanaticism was so ingrained in me by then that I built a rudimentary Kirlian photography device after finding plans for it on microfilm in the local library!
 

 
I wrote about this in 2010, on the occasion of the publication of the coffee table book Bowie: Object.

To give you a personal (and very small) example of the multitude of ways David Bowie has influenced little old me, when I was ten years old and Bowie was the guest on Dinah Shore’s afternoon talk/variety show, he was able to invite Dr. Moss on as a guest as well. Moss demonstrated the ability of the Kirlian device—a high voltage electric field “camera”—to basically take snapshots of plant and human “auras.” Because Bowie was fascinated by this wild new science of Kirlian photography, then, hey, so was I and—this is true—I built a homemade version of the Kirlian Photographic device for a grade-school science fair.

It was made with a battery, a wood base, some wire, a metal plate and used 2” by 2” film, which was placed under the plate, and sent a jolt via the battery to expose the film. Now, granted, at that age, I wasn’t testing the “before and after” side-effects of snorting cocaine on my aura (see above) like Bowie was—-I used leaves and my thumbprint—but still, you can see clearly in this stupid example of how I, a little kid at the time, saw David Bowie as this like, larger than life cultural avatar of the newest and coolest things around.

Beyond influencing my 5th grade science fair entry, I’m pretty sure that it was David Bowie that led me directly to my interests in Andy Warhol, Iggy, Lou Reed, the Velvets, George Orwell, and even William Burroughs. My interest in most things artistic and countercultural probably began with David Bowie when I was a kid and simply fanned out from there. I honestly don’t think I would be the same person today, or would have lived the life that I have or that I would even be doing what I do professionally without his influence on not only what I was thinking or feeding my head with when I was very young, but also on the way his life and art demonstrated what was possible to aspire to.

Twelve years ago, when someone working the register at St. Mark’s Books told me that David Bowie had purchased my Disinformation book and DVD—David Bowie knew who I was???—it was one of the proudest moments of my entire life. I simply can’t believe he’s gone.

Below, David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars on the ‘Ziggy’ tour in Dunstable, June 21, 1972 doing “Song for Bob Dylan”:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Heartfelt letters written by a young David Bowie (and some of his youngest fans)
01.11.2016
12:59 pm

Topics:
Heroes
R.I.P.

Tags:
David Bowie

David Bowie, RIP
 
Like everyone out there, I’m at a loss for words upon hearing of David Bowie’s passing. As Bowie’s brilliant 25th album, Blackstar is a letter of sorts to all of us, I thought sharing some of Bowie’s letters to his fans and friends, as well as a few letters from Bowie’s youngest fans would be a way of helping to celebrate the life of the great man.
 
David Bowie's letter to
David Bowie’s beautiful post-Ziggy letter to his fan Susie Maguire, April of 1974
 
David Bowie's handwritten letter to his friend, designer Natascha Korniloff, 1979
David Bowie’s handwritten letter to his friend, designer Natasha Korniloff, 1979. It reads: “Love me, say you do. Let me fly away with you, for my love is like the wind; and wild is the wind.”
 
David Bowie's famous letter to a fourteen-year-old fan, 1967
A higher resolution image of the letter can be seen here
 
Davie Bowie's letter from 1970 to Bob Grace of Chrysalis Music, the man who signed the then 24-year-old to a five-year record contract
Davie Bowie’s letter from 1970 to Bob Grace of Chrysalis Music, the man who signed the then 24-year-old to a five-year record contract
 
Some fun fan letters, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Pierrot in Turquoise’: David Bowie’s little-known first theatrical appearance, 1968
01.11.2016
10:32 am

Topics:
Heroes
Music
R.I.P.
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Lindsay Kemp

00123bow70.jpg
 
It had to come, it always does and usually when we least expect it. So, it was this morning when news broke of David Bowie’s untimely demise. Even the presenters on television seemed stunned, slightly disbelieving at the words they mouthed off teleprompters. It was unreal—sitting eating breakfast around seven in the morning, still in dressing gown, the world dark outside, when suddenly I heard the news that someone who had been a constant in my life—like a parent or a friend—was gone.

Odd how someone I never met, never knew, only listened to and watched could cause such a sense of inestimable loss.

The release of his albums The Next Day in 2013 and Blackstar ★ last week was further proof that Bowie was beyond mortal and would somehow continue onwards creating his magical works of brilliance. But perhaps, we should have listened more closely to the words he sang:

Look up here, I’m in heaven.
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen.
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen,
Everybody knows me now…

Oh I’ll be free.
Just like that bluebird.
Oh I’ll be free.
Ain’t that just like me.

 
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Though he had just celebrated his 69th birthday, “David Bowie” was really born fifty years ago when he changed his surname from Jones to Bowie. The name change allowed the young 20-year-old to become someone else—something far more interesting than just another aspiring singer and musician hungry for fame. He became whatever ever he wanted to be—a kind of “Everyman” as he later described himself:

I’m Pierrot. I’m Everyman. What I’m doing is theatre, and only theatre. What you see on stage isn’t sinister. It’s pure clown. I’m using myself as a canvas and trying to paint the truth of our time

Theater was always important to Bowie. In December his drama Lazarus co-authored with Enda Walsh “a two-hour meditation on grief and lost hope” was being hailed as a “wild, fantastical, eye-popping” masterpiece. This wasn’t Bowie’s first venture into theater and writing a musical score—his first came in 1967, when Bowie collaborated with the maverick performer, choreographer and director Lindsay Kemp.

It was on 28 December 1967 that David Bowie made his theatrical debut at the Oxford New Theater. He was appearing as Cloud in Lindsay Kemp’s mime Pierrot in Turquoise (aka The Looking Glass Murders). Bowie wrote and performed the songs, while Kemp played Pierrot, with Jack Birkett as Harlequin, and Annie Stainer as Columbine.

The production was in rehearsal when it opened at the New Theater—which may explain why the Oxford Mail described the show as “something of a pot-pourri.” The reviewer did however praise Bowie’s musical contribution:

David Bowie has composed some haunting songs, which he sings in a superb, dreamlike voice. But beguilingly as he plays Cloud, and vigorously as Jack Birkett mimes Harlequin, the pantomime isn’t a completely satisfactory framework for some of the items from his repertoire that Mr Kemp, who plays Pierrot, chooses to present….

...No doubt these are shortcomings Mr. Kemp will attend to before he presents Pierrot in Turquoise at the Prague Festival at the invitation of Marceau and Fialka next summer. No mean honour for an English mime troupe.

The production told the story of Pierrot’s fateful attempts to win the love of Columbine. As we know, the path of true love never runs smooth, and Columbine falls for Harlequin, and is then killed by Pierrot.

After a few tweaks Pierrot in Turquoise opened at the Rosehill Theater, Whitehaven, before going on to the Mercury Theater and Intimate Theater London in March 1968.
 
pierrotcloud1.jpg
 
Bowie’s career throughout the sixties fits Thomas Edison’s adage “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” He worked hard and continually toured the length and breadth of Britain under various guises: The Konrads, The Hookers, Davie Jones and The King Bees, The Manish Boys, the Blues influenced Davie Jones and The Lower Third, Davie Jones and The Buzz, and The Riot Squad, a band described as:

The Complete Musical Entertainers covering Pop, Tableaux, Burlesque and Parody

Even at this early stage Bowie was shedding musical styles quicker than he changed his haircut—from beat thru blues to music hall and pop. With hindsight it is possible to see where his career was going but by 1967 the teenager’s recording career had come to a halt after he released the unsuccessful novelty song “The Laughing Gnome.” Bowie didn’t release a record for another two years.

It was during this time that Bowie fell under the influence of mime artist and performer Lindsay Kemp, who helped Bowie channel his unique talent towards “Space Oddity” and later Ziggy Stardust. As Kemp later told journalist Mick Brown for Crawdaddy in 1974:

“I taught David to free his body,” says Kemp, smiling wickedly.

“Even before meeting, David and I had felt the need to work together. I’d identified myself with his songs, and he’d seen my performances and identified himself with my songs. I was singing the songs of my life with my body; he was singing the songs of his life very fabulously with his voice, and we reckoned that by putting the two together the audience couldn’t help but be enthralled. In other words, one large gin is very nice, but two large gins are even nicer.”

The two large gins became Pierrot in Turquoise, which (thankfully) was filmed by Scottish Television in 1969 and then broadcast in July 1970. How a small regional TV station like STV came to film this wonderful treat is probably a tale in itself—even if one cataloguer described the production as “quite creepy.”

Watch Bowie in ‘Pierrot in Turquoise,’ after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘I’m stepping through the door And I’m floating’: David Bowie R.I.P.
01.11.2016
02:42 am

Topics:
Current Events
Heroes
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
Crushing news. It has just been announced that David Bowie has died of cancer at the age of 69. Anyone who has followed Dangerous Minds over the years know how much we adore the man. Our hearts are broken.

From Bowie’s official Facebook page:

David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.

 
I’ve been charmed by many of David Bowie’s appearances on screen. But this clip from British TV when he was a mere 17 is particularly wonderful. His subversive humor is already beginning to blossom as the spokesperson for The Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Longhaired Men. Sly devil.
 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Conspiracy Theory (or not?): Does David Bowie know there is a band called Lazarus Blackstar?
01.09.2016
11:25 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Lazarus Blackstar

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This week on Krazy Kosmic Konspiracy Koincidence Korner a look at a band that may (or may not) have influenced, inspired, etc, etc, the living legend that is Mr. David Bowie.

Yesterday, Bowie released his 25th studio album Blackstar ★, from which he’d dropped the track “Lazarus” on December 17th.

So far so good.

But did you know there’s an English heavy metal/sludge/doom band called Lazarus Blackstar?

Well, there is, and this is what they look like…
 
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And this is how they’re described on Discography:

Lazarus Blackstar
Profile: Sludge/Doom from Bradford/Liverpool

Formerly called Khang. Bryan Outlaw (Threads) quit during the process of writing Khang’s second LP because he disliked the direction the music was going in (too slow and heavy). The band recorded the album anyway without vocals. A mutual friend suggested that Paul Catten (The Sontaran Experiment), a vocalist the band admires, could use the position, so they let him hear the CD and 30 seconds into the first track he said he needed to be involved. They changed their name during the recording of the 2004 demo because the feel was much different from Khang, and Lazarus Blackstar was born. In March 2008 Mikhell replaced Paul on vocals.

Lazarus Blackstar have released three albums Revelations (2005), Funeral Voyeur (2007) and Hymns of the Curse (2012).

Mere coincidence—you might say—what’s in a name? Okay, then take a look at this video some clever clogs has put together for Lazarus Blackstar’s track “I Bleed Black” which uses that well known footage of patients at a nursing home/hospital suffering from St. Vitus Dance—which (let’s be honest) looks a lot like the movements Bowie performs in his “Blackstar” video—even right down as far as his use of a blindfold. See for yourself…
 

 
Now compare it to Bowie’s video for “Blackstar ★.”
 

 
This intriguing coincidence was noted by Bowiesongs who tweeted:
 

 

 

 
What’s going on?

H/T Mark Hagen, via Bowiesongs.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
If you really want to feel like a total loser, then visit ‘What Did David Bowie Do at Your Age?’
01.04.2016
10:47 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
Introducing his song “Alma” on his 1965 album That Was the Year That Was, Tom Lehrer, referring to the song’s subject, Alma Mahler, quipped: “It’s people like that who make you realize how little you’ve accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.”

Fortunately, that particular comment can’t be made about David Bowie, who is still with us, and at the age of 68 (he turns 69 in four days) there’s no risk of making any jokes about his early demise.

However, some clever person has decided to create a website dedicated to shaming the paltry accomplishments of your life when compared to that of David Bowie. The site is called What Did David Bowie Do at Your Age? The way it works is, you type in your current age, and then it spits out something that Bowie was doing at that age.
 

 

Here are a few examples:

When David Bowie was 17:
He released his first ever release, “Liza Jane/Louie Louie Go Home” in June 1964, under the name of “Davie Jones with The King-Bees”.

When David Bowie was 29:
He starred in the film “The Man Who Fell to Earth” by director Nicolas Roeg.

When David Bowie was 34:
He created the hit “Under Pressure” in collaboration with Queen, which was later included in the 1982 Queen album “Hot Space”.

 
As the person running the website says, “This page is to celebrate David Bowie, and remind us to get out of our comfort zone and start doing shit.”
 
Here’s a scorching version of “Stay” on the Dinah Shore show, which happened almost precisely 40 years ago to the day. The date of the show was January 3, 1976:

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
David Bowie introduces classic Christmas cartoon, ‘The Snowman’
12.07.2015
03:59 pm

Topics:
Animation
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Raymond Briggs


 
The Snowman is an Academy Award-nominated animated short based on the wordless 1978 children’s book of the same name by beloved British author and illustrator Raymond Briggs.

In The Snowman, a lonely boy makes a frozen friend who comes alive and the pair get up to mischief in the boy’s house, trying not to awaken his sleeping parents. Then they go to meet Santa Claus. Or was it all just a dream? Over the past 30 plus years it has become a Christmas tradition in Britain in the same sense that A Charlie Brown Christmas has become one in America, with annual Yuletide broadcasts.

Although the original animation, directed by Diane Jackson for Channel 4 in 1982, featured Briggs himself introducing the cartoon, the following year a second version was aired featuring a live action introduction by none other than David Bowie, who, it is implied, was the little boy in the story, with the “proof” that it all really happened being an old scarf he pulls from a drawer. It’s amusing to consider that an entire generation was introduced to David Bowie first and foremost as the adult version of the kid in this story.

A word about the soundtrack music: It’s lyrical and utterly gorgeous, the best known work of composer and pianist Howard Blake and was recorded with his orchestra, the Sinfonia of London. I have this on CD and it’s wonderful, a classic in its own right. Blake later turned The Snowman into a long-running holiday theatrical play.

In 2012, The Snowman and the Snowdog, a sequel to the original film was broadcast by Channel 4.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Amanda Lear: 70s disco diva, fashion model, TV star and Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse


 
Model, painter, disco diva, TV personality and the absolute fiercest of the pioneering transsexuals (along with Candy Darling), Amanda Lear was born Alain Maurice Louis René Tap in Saigon, 1939. Or it could have been Paris. Or Hong Kong. The year might have been 1941, 1945 or as she now claims 1950. There is much competing information about her parents, none of it conclusive. In general, not much is known for sure about the early life of Amanda Lear and she would very much like to keep it that way. She claims to have been educated in Switzerland and she eventually made her way to Paris in 1959, taking the stage name “Peki d’Oslo,” performing as a stripper at the notorious drag bar, Le Carrousel.
 

Amanda Lear’s mid-60s model card.
 
The story goes that the gangly, yet exotic Eurasian beauty Peki had a nose job and sex change in Casablanca paid for by none other than the Surrealist master Salvador Dali, who frequented Le Carrousel, in 1963. Amanda, as she is now known, then makes her way to London to become a part of the swinging Chelsea set where she is rumored to have had a relationship with Rolling Stone Brian Jones. She models for Yves St. Laurent and Paco Rabanne and is a constant muse for the Divine Dali, but her career is held back by rumors that she was born a man or was a hermaphrodite.
 

‘For Your Pleasure’ cover
 
Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry saw Lear on the runway during an Ossie Clark fashion show and invited her to be the model for Roxy’s For Your Pleasure album cover, walking a black panther on a leash. They were briefly engaged and that image has become iconic. Lear also had a yearlong affair with David Bowie who serenaded her with “Sorrow” in his “1980 Floor Show” (broadcast on The Midnight Special in 1974). Bowie helped Lear launch her musical career and by the late 1970s she had become a bestselling disco singer and television personality in Europe with hits like “Follow Me,” “Queen of Chinatown” and “I Am a Photograph.”
 

The David Bailey photograph of Lear that appeared in the infamous 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue
 
Amanda Lear’s autobiography, My Life With Dali came out in 1985 and it begins when she would have been approximately 24 or 25 years of age. Almost no mention whatsoever is made of her life before arriving in London in 1965. When Dali biographer Ian Gibson confronted her on camera about the gender of her birth in his The Fame and Shame of Salvador Dali TV documentary, Lear angrily—and not at all convincingly—stonewalled him. She has always vehemently denied that she was a transsexual despite it being a well-established fact. She even posed nude for Playboy and several other men’s magazines and often sunbathed naked on beaches to dispel the rumors. All this really proved was that she had a kickin’ bod, but if you ask me, I think it’s sad that she choses to keep up this pretense. She should be rightfully celebrated for her biggest accomplishment in life—ironically, being true to herself—but apparently Amanda Lear just doesn’t see it that way.
 

Amanda Lear vehemently denies having had a sex change on German television 1977.
 
Today Amanda Lear still looks amazing—she’s practically ageless no matter what her real biological age might be—and continues to perform all over Europe. She’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of fifteen million albums and 25 million singles. She also has a thriving career as a painter and an original painting of hers can sell for $10,000 or more. She’s done stage acting and was the voice of Edna ‘E’ Mode in the Italian-dubbed version of The Incredibles. Lear was a judge on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars.
 
“The Stud” from 1979’s ‘Sweet Revenge’ album

 
Much more of Amanda Lear, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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