The Idiot: Iggy Pop totally charms square daytime TV audience, 1977
04.16.2014
10:45 am

Topics:
Music
Punk
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Iggy Pop


 
Iggy Pop’s classic album, The Idiot, is now 37 years old. It still sounds as good today as when it was released in spring of 1977, although the times have caught up to it. Somewhat at least.

Produced by David Bowie, who co-wrote all of the songs with Iggy, save for one (Bowie’s longtime guitarist Carlos Alomar co-wrote “Sister Midnight), The Idiot has very little in common with the rest of the Igster’s output, even his next record, Lust for Life, also produced in collaboration with Bowie. No, The Idiot‘s Teutonic-sounding industrial drone had almost no connection whatsoever to the sound of The Stooges, or really even most things of that era, come to think of it.

Bowie’s own Low album had just come out in January and was considered mind-blowing, even controversial at the time. The Idiot, released just a few weeks later (but mostly recorded first), was an equally chilly-sounding affair, but way darker and with a much bigger whomp. It’s sort of the perfect marriage of their talents.

As Bowie told Kurt Loder in 1989:

Poor Jim, in a way, became a guinea pig for what I wanted to do with sound. I didn’t have the material at the time, and I didn’t feel like writing at all. I felt much more like laying back and getting behind someone else’s work, so that album was opportune, creatively.

The Idiot was the first Iggy album that you could easily buy in a small town. I was eleven when it came out and I already owned both Raw Power and a blue vinyl Metallic ‘KO—both purchased unheard via mail order from a Moby Disc Records ad in CREEM magazine, a monthlong round trip—so when I brought The Idiot home from the mall and slapped it on the turntable, I was perplexed at first, but ultimately thrilled. “Dum Dum Boys” and “Mass Production” were my favorite tracks. The druggy, nightmarish vamp “Nightclubbing” was another. I played the shit out of that album.

When Iggy and Bowie toured that spring in support of The Idiot, they made a stop on daytime television’s Dinah! show, hosted by singer Dinah Shore. Bowie had been on Dinah! to promote Station to Station (with fellow guests Nancy Walker and Henry Winkler) and seemed to have a good rapport with Shore, so it was arranged that he would guest with Iggy, who sang a live “Sister Midnight” after Shore introduced him—her show was on at 10am in the TV market I lived in—with a photograph of him covered in blood! Dinah! may have been a middle-of-the-road daytime TV show, but to her credit, Dinah Shore didn’t shy away from asking him about it either (as Bowie laughs and shakes his head “No!”). Shore’s square studio audience, too, seem to actually be charmed by Jimmy Osterberg’s tales of his misspent youth, drug addiction and self-harming, because, hey let’s face it, the man was charisma personified during this delightful chat
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Rock stars with their cats and dogs

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Cool pictures of musicians with their pet dogs and cats, which show how even the most self-obsessed, narcissistic Rock god has a smidgen of humanity to care about someone other than themselves. Though admittedly, Iggy Pop looks like he’s about to eat his pet dog.
 
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Patti Smith and stylist.
 
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This is not a doggy bag, Iggy.
 
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There’s a cat in there somewhere with Joey Ramone.
 
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Tupac Shakur and a future internet meme.
 
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Bjork and a kissing cousin.
 
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O Superdog: Laurie Anderson and friend.
 
More cats and dogs and musicians, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and others expound on the topic of ‘Punk’ in 1979


 
Getting it or not getting it to varying degrees are Kate Bush, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Cliff Richard, Steve Harley, Mick Taylor, Peter Gabriel, Paul Cook, John Lydon, Meatloaf, and a surprisingly astute young Leif Garrett putting in their two cents on the topic of “Punk.”

According to the caption on YouTube, these comments aired in December 1979 on a program called Countdown on a specific episode called “End Of the Decade.” Presumably this is something from the archives of Australian television. It looks like an editor’s raw “selects” in the formulation seen here.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Cornball 1974 TV commercial for live David Bowie album
02.21.2014
02:36 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
It’s a 1974 TV commercial for David Live and it’s pretty goofy. It’s but 30 seconds long, so there’s not a lot more to say about it other than it’s pretty goofy.
 

 
Okay then…

Here’s a better one from earlier that same year, for Diamond Dogs. The sultry voice-over here is by Cherry Vanilla, Bowie’s then publicist at his MainMan Ltd. management company. She probably produced it, too, as she came from a Mad Men-era Madison Avenue advertising background before Andy Warhol beckoned.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
An in-depth analysis of David Bowie’s teeth
01.29.2014
12:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Teeth


 
I guess people really do give a shit about David Bowie’s teeth! I, for one, have never thought about them. Never.

Apparently it was/is a hot topic as the video below goes into great—painful, even—detail about Bowie’s choppers. Celebrity surgeon Dr. Alex Karidis makes an appearance and “looks Major Tom in the molars.”
 

 

 

 
h/t The World’s Best Ever

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
The ‘rare’ ‘David Bowie’ Joy Division cover that hoaxed the Internet
01.27.2014
08:25 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Joy Division
New Order
hoax


 
Perhaps you noticed a number of your friends posting—and then deleting—a “rare” cover version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” on their Facebook walls today. The track in question was supposedly recorded by David Bowie and members of New Order.

Here’s what it said on YouTube:

A chance meeting in 1983 had David Bowie, Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook chatting away over beers in the Kings Arms in Salford. “...So we were all there just having a laugh and we joked that he should come n have a jam with us, then next minute - well, it was the next day actually, but i didn’t expect he’d definitely come by - and we were in the practice rooms and we were playing Love Will Tear Us Apart and i was like, f%$K we’re playing Love Will Tear Us Apart with David Bowie singing, this is crazy. We never released it - Bowie took a recording of it, and just layered some more vocals on for fun, sent it back to me…” - Bernard Sumner.

Yeah, right.

Was this the handiwork of Tim Heidecker?

Was Adam Buxton responsible, perhaps?

Until the perpetrator steps forward we may never know who was behind this clever prank, but Joy Division’s Peter Hook has weighed in on Twitter to say that… it’s a fake (as if that already wasn’t already totally obvious to anyone with ears, although I did appreciate the low-fi “bootleg” sound quality, which lent an air of authenticity to the proceedings. Extra points for that).
 

 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
David Bowie explains what ‘Ziggy Stardust’ is all about before it was released, 1972
01.03.2014
07:02 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
In February 1972, several months before the release of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars, David Bowie gave an interview to a radio interviewer in the United States, whose identity is unfortunately unknown. In the interview Bowie describes the general concept of Ziggy Stardust and discusses a bunch of tracks from the Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust sessions that for whatever reason had been left off those albums, songs that were released in other forms later on—in some cases much later on.

Amusingly, the interviewer appears to have a very solid source on Bowie, because he asks about unreleased material he’s not really supposed to know about. Bowie is initially alarmed at the interviewer’s depth of knowledge on these songs but quickly relaxes and jovially fills in a few blanks.

Here’s Bowie explaining Ziggy Stardust:
 

Interviewer: Could you explain a little more in-depth about the album that’s coming out—Ziggy?

Bowie: I’ll try very hard. It’s a little difficult, but it originally started as a concept album, but it kind of got broken up, because I found other songs I wanted to put in the album which wouldn’t have fitted into the story of Ziggy, so at the moment it’s a little fractured and a little fragmented…. I’m just lighting a cigarette….

So anyway, what you have there on that album when it does finally come out, is a story which doesn’t really take place, it’s just a few little scenes from the life of a band called Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, who could feasibly be the last band on Earth—it could be within the last five years of Earth. I’m not at all sure. Because I wrote it in such a way that I just dropped the numbers into the album in any order that they cropped up. It depends in which state you listen to it in. The times that I’ve listened to it, I’ve had a number of meanings out of the album, but I always do. Once I’ve written an album, my interpretations of the numbers in that album are totally different afterwards than the time when I wrote them and I find that I learn a lot from my own albums about me.

 
That chunk of the interview is the first half. The second half is dedicated to the outtakes, including his cover of Jacques Brel’s “Amsterdam,” which was released as the B-side to “Sorrow” in October 1973; the second version of the 1971 single “Holy Holy,” which ended up being the B-side to “Diamond Dogs” in 1974; and his cover of Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around,” which was released as the B-side of the single “Drive-In Saturday” in April 1973 under the title “Round and Round.”

Two songs are of particular interest to Bowie lovers. The first one is “a thing called ‘Bombers,’ which is kind of a skit on Neil Young…. It’s quite funny.” “Bombers” was recorded during the Hunky Dory sessions and was released by RCA in the United States as a promo single in November 1971—Bowie seems to regard the song as utterly unknown, so it’s safe to say that that promo didn’t get wide release (the interviewer, earlier so eager to demonstrate his wide knowledge, also says nothing about it). Eventually “Bombers” was a bonus track on the 1990 Rykodisc reissue of Hunky Dory.

The other song is, ahem, “He’s a Goldmine,” which of course is one of Bowie’s most famous B-sides, thanks in part to Todd Haynes’ 1998 movie Velvet Goldmine, under which name the song was released, as the B-side to the 1975 re-release of “Space Oddity.” Bowie seems quite tickled by the track in its state at that time, saying that “probably the lyrics are a little bit too provocative.”
 
“Bombers”:

 
1972 U.S. radio interview:

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Thin White Gelato’: David Bowie’s holiday memories set to gorgeous fantasy animation
12.30.2013
08:25 am

Topics:
Animation
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
This is honestly some of the more interesting David Bowie-inspired art I’ve seen, and believe me—-I’ve seen a ton. The man is the progenitor of so many artistic foundations, many of them visual. In my line of work, I’ve waded through a lot a of really bad Bowie-related short films and fashion lines before finding anything that’s not been done before. Not only is this little cartoon interesting, it’s unexpected.

The short starts out with footage of Bowie reminiscing on Christmases past, then unfolds into a lovely animated quest where winged ice-cream trucks soar across gentle psychedelic landscapes. If the art seems familiar, the animators are quick to cite the children’s picture book and subsequent cartoon, The Snowman as their inspiration. The book was a holiday staple for many childhoods, including my own, and it’s an interesting nostalgic contrast to David Bowie the career futurist.

There’s something unbelievably soothing about David Bowie’s voice over cartoons of migrating ice-cream trucks. It’s dreamy and sweet (no pun intended), and for a moment, you even forget the cartoon is Bowie-inspired—high praise when the man casts such a long shadow. Honestly, I doubt he’d object. David Bowie was obviously never averse to a little sentimental sweetness; I think we all remember that awesomely surreal “Little Drummer Boy” duet with Bing Crosby and just the other day, his thin white duke-ishness sent over some holiday cheer from his home in New York to his native Britain via “This is Radio Clash.”
 

 
As a bonus, check out this 1968 ice-cream commercial which features a young Mr. Bowie for a split second. (These individually-wrapped ice-cream bars came with trading cards of pop stars incidentally.)
 

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
David Bowie: Early performance of ‘Space Oddity’ on Swiss TV, 1969
12.13.2013
05:34 pm

Topics:
Heroes
Music
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Graham Bonney

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A very early clip of David Bowie performing “Space Oddity” on Swiss TV’s music series Hits a Go Go in 1969. The show was hosted by Graham Bonney, best known for his sixties’ chart single “Super Girl” and for later hosting the UK kids music show Lift Off.

Graham Bonney was a star in Germany and had a series of hits in the late sixties and seventies with such… um der groovy Teutonic numbers as “Das Girl mit dem La-La-La,” “Wähle 333,” “Du bist viel zu schön,” and a cover of the Scott English single “Brandy.” However, Bonney had another connection with Bowie, in that he had once been a member of The Riot Squad, the band Bowie later joined as saxophonist, guitarist and singer in 1967. It was with The Riot Squad that Bowie recorded a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man.”
 

 
This is a crisp and clean video of Bowie’s first major European TV appearance.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Call in The Riot Squad: David Bowie covers The Velvet Underground… in 1967!

‘Super Girl’ by one hit wonder, Graham Bonney

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Got a big leotard budget? This Bowie-inspired fashion line may be for you!
11.21.2013
03:45 pm

Topics:
Fashion

Tags:
David Bowie

Bowie fashion
Halloween Jack was a real cool cat. Meow.
 
You might remember our recent post on the Twin Peaks-themed clothing line, but I’m way more impressed by Suckers Apparel‘s David Bowie-themed line! They’re super cute, and I could totally do with that Halloween Jack leotard (if I had that kind of scratch).
 
Bowie fashion
 
Bowie fashion
Inspired by the Thin White Duke look
 
Bowie fashion
 
Bowie fashion
 
Bowie fashion
Inspired by Bowie’s “gold circle” makeup
 
Bowie fashion
 
Bowie apparel
Inspired by Bowie’s anisocoria
 
Via Suckers Apparel

Written by Amber Frost | Discussion
LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy folds Steve Reich into his epic Bowie remix
11.12.2013
12:18 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
James Murphy
Steve Reich


 
I really like this remix of David Bowie’s “Love is Lost” from his album The Next Day, which came out earlier this year. It was undertaken by James Murphy, recently of LCD Soundsystem, and it incorporates as the primary bed a recording of Steve Reich’s 1972 “Clapping Music.” In fact it’s called the “Hello Steve Reich Mix.”
 

 
“Clapping Music” must be one of Reich’s most popular works. While researching this piece I found a textbook in which the class was told to break up into groups for the purpose of “composing your own ‘Clapping Music.’” Reich wrote it for two people (the video below has ten), and it’s based on a very simple idea. The two clappers clap the same pattern, but one of them adds a slight pause every few bars, which generates interesting and unexpected patterns until it eventually moves back into phase again. Since the notes don’t change in pitch, the notation looks like this:
 
Clapping Music
 
Here’s Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music” performed by the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble in 2006:

 

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
‘Cracked Actor’: Classic Bowie doc with rare footage of the ‘Diamond Dogs’ tour
11.07.2013
05:34 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Music
Television

Tags:
David Bowie
Alan Yentob


 
Cracked Actor is a 1974 BBC television documentary film about David Bowie that first aired in January of 1975. It was kind of a “Holy Grail” for Bowie nuts and over the years I’ve owned a VHS bootleg that was barely watchable, a DVD that was a slight improvement over that, and then I taped it off the air when BBC America aired it about ten years ago. Earlier this year, what with all the Bowie hoopla going on in the UK, the film was re-transferred to HD and trotted out again by the BBC. Now it’s really easy to find. In fact, it’s just a few inches below this very sentence.

Cracked Actor is a fascinatingly odd film. It was directed by a then 27-year-old Alan Yentob, later the Director of Programmes for all of BBC Television, who was promised extraordinary access to the singer by his manager Tony Defries. We meet a sickly, obviously coked-out David Bowie, being shunted between performances, limousines and hotels. He’s pale, stick thin and clearly mentally fragile. The somewhat uncomfortable manner in which he comports himself in film apparently made a big impression on Nicolas Roeg, who promptly cast him as an alien in The Man Who Fell to Earth.

In 1987, Bowie said of watching the film again:

“I was so blocked ... so stoned ... It’s quite a casualty case, isn’t it? I’m amazed I came out of that period, honest. When I see that now I cannot believe I survived it. I was so close to really throwing myself away physically, completely.”

Cracked Actor was mostly shot in Los Angeles and the majority of the concert footage was taken from a show at the Universal Amphitheatre on September 2, 1974. It is one of the sole sources of footage from the Burroughsian dystopia via Busby Berkeley vision of the infamous Diamond Dogs tour. Some of the material comes from D.A. Pennebaker’s Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars film.

Among the numbers performed in the film are “Space Oddity,” “Cracked Actor,” “Sweet Thing/Candidate,” “Moonage Daydream,” “The Width of a Circle,” “Aladdin Sane,” “Time” and “Diamond Dogs.”
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Too soon?: Lou Reed tribute shirt goes hilariously wrong
10.31.2013
01:53 pm

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Lou Reed


 
It’s clear from some of the other shirts this Etsy user has for sale that this is the work of a morbid and highly twisted prankster, but I have to admit - I laughed. And I kind of want one. Putting a picture of David Bowie on a Lou Reed R.I.P. shirt like that is a pretty great joke.

Written by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Kansai Yamamoto’s fantastic outfits for David Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’ tour
10.01.2013
08:11 am

Topics:
Fashion
Music

Tags:
David Bowie
Kansai Yamamoto

Bowie Yamamoto
 
Kansai Yamamoto was one of the most important “Japanese Contemporary” fashion designers who arrived on the scene in the 1970s, His primary accomplishment as a young designer was to appropriate the traditional Japanese garb of the past—kimonos, samurai armor, and so forth—and from them create enchanting modern variations.

Bowie has said that Yamamoto was “100 per cent responsible for the Ziggy haircut and colour,” saying, according to Peter Doggett’s book The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s, “He had just unleashed all the Kabuki- and Noh-inspired clothes on London, and one of his models had the Kanuki lion’s mane on her head, this bright red thing.” 

According to Cameron Silve’s Decades: A Century of Fashion, Yamamoto said of Bowie, “He has an unusual face, don’t you think? He’s neither man nor woman, if you see what I mean, which suited me as a designer because most of my clothes are for either sex.”

For his Aladdin Sane tour, Bowie sought Yamamoto out for some wacked-out space-age costumery, and Yamamoto produced the following looks:
 
Bowie Yamamoto
 
Bowie Yamamoto
 
Bowie Yamamoto
 
Bowie Yamamoto
 
Bowie Yamamoto
 
Bowie Yamamoto
 
Here’s Bowie with the designer:
Bowie Yamamoto
 

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
David Bowie home movie footage, 1965
09.14.2013
01:38 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
David Bowie


 
Here’s a glimpse of a young David Bowie, from a mid-60s home movie shot in London’s Tin Pan Alley district.

The fellow who posted it on YouTube, Joe Salama writes:

“This exceptional cine footage was taken by my late father on a trip up to the West End of London totally unaware that David Bowie was the young dude that smiles graciously at the camera.

Even when I showed him what he had filmed he was none the wiser and couldn’t remember why he focussed on this particular chap. The face fleetingly seen behind Bowie is that of my mother. Roughly dated to 1968.”

The Mrs. Tsk* Tumblr blog investigated further and found that the home movie, in fact, dated to 1965, by comparing not only Bowie’s hairstyle at the time, but also from a Davie Jones & The Lower Third handbill which had caricatures of the group members that were actually drawn by Jones/Bowie himself. In this self-portrait, he’s wearing the same-rounded collar he’s seen sporting in the film. Mrs Tsk also figured out what block this was shot on, and surmises that the future rockstar was heading into the La Gioconda cafe.

Somebody in the comments points out that it’s more likely to be 1966 or 1965. I’m able to confirm that this is spring 1965. Bigfoot — I mean Bowie, or rather Davie Jones, as he’s still called at this point — is seen walking in a westerly direction along the south side of Denmark Street, London’s Tin Pan Alley, where in May 1965 he recorded a demo with his new band The Lower Third (Tea-Cup, Death and Les, who resemble the three bowl-headed lads seen walking through the arcade) at Central Sound Studio.

—snip—

Central Sound Studio was right next to the La Gioconda cafe, famous as the place where Bowie met The Lower Third and also schizo-rocker Vince Taylor, later to serve as the inspiration for Ziggy Stardust. In fact, I’m pretty sure La Gioconda is where Davie, after flashing his charming smile at the unknown cinematographer, is heading.

 

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Best photo of David Bowie that you will ever see: First night in the USA, 1971
 
Via Spencer Kansa/Adam Peters

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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