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Stuck in the Mudd! Four decades later, the doorman of the wildest nightclub in NYC lets you in!

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Here’s a drink ticket—enjoy the post!

“If you’ve been standing here for more than ten minutes you’re not coming in” announces Richard Boch in a stern but cute, almost teenaged stoner way. Don’t get me wrong, he means it. This was how “normal people” were greeted much of the time at the door of the Mudd Club (and many other ultra hip clubs in New York City at the time). This made getting in a huge badge of honor and being turned away a major disgrace. Imagine riding on THAT possibility just to pay to go into a nightclub? An anonymous “sniper” refused entrance once even hit Boch with a dead pigeon from a few yards away and sped off in a taxi cab!

Back then these normal people showing up at Manhattan nightclubs were mostly referred to as the “bridge and tunnel” crowd (Queens, Jersey, Brooklyn) a term not heard much these days, but once heard hundreds of times every night in NYC clubs. Some were 9-5ers, some wealthy disco-types expecting to stroll in on the doorman’s view of their Rolex or hot girlfriend. These regular folks were basically told to cool their heels or fuck off while an 18-year-old kid like me dressed to the hilt in what may have looked to them like idiotic rags, parted the seas and strolled in like I was Mick Jagger. This was not Studio 54 as they would find out soon enough. What it was, though, was a trip into known and unknown galaxies of hip culture throughout history, like a living, breathing museum/funhouse/drug den/concert hall/discotheque, mixed with nitroglycerine and LSD and thrown into a blender to create the unknown. The future. THE NOW!

The Mudd Club was almost literally unbelievable. Inmates running the asylum on an outer space pirate ship. This vessel was founded, funded and schemed by Steve Mass, who was on every side of the street all at once. When I first met Steve, he was roommates with Brian Eno and got that input, but he STILL drove me out to my parents’ apartment in Queens to help pull my record collection from under my bed, my parents shrugging their shoulders until reading about us a year later in the New York Times, thereby making it “Okay.” But really he was always very curious, constantly grilling me, getting inside my head. I once told him I thought he should round off the corners and ceiling of the Mudd Club like a giant cave and have live bats flying around the club. He actually considered it! He did this with certain other kids, rock stars, Warhol superstars, models, designers, Hollywood royalty, junkies, freaks and lord knows who else. We all had a bit of our heart and soul in that place.
 
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Mudd Club owner Steve Mass. Photo by Kate Simon

The above mentioned Richard Boch is the author of a incredibly well-written new book from Feral House titled The Mudd Club. Boch was the main doorman there and the book is his autobiography or a coming of age story told in pretty much the aftermath of the glorious Sixties during the truly, in retrospect, harsh, dark, real version of what was hoped for, but lost in that previous decade. Richard’s story is all of our stories, those of us lucky (or unlucky) enough to have grown up or wound up in New York City’s grimy punk/art/drugged musical and historical mish-mosh. It was the Velvet Underground’s songs come to life after waiting a decade for the world to catch up to it, or crumble to its level.
 
To quote Richard:

I’ve always referred to the Mudd Club as the scene of the crime, always meant as a term of endearment. It was the night that never ended: the day before never happened and the day after, a long way off. There was nothing else like it and I wound up right in the middle. I thought I could handle it and for a while, I did.

 
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Author Richard Boch. Photo by Alan Kleinberg
 
Boch was given marching orders orders early on to avoid bloated seventies superstars and the limo crowd. On one of his first nights of work he was faced with a huge, loud, and very sweaty Meatloaf. “Definitely not something I wanted to get close to, physically or musically,” Boch says, and ignored him. My first ever DJ gig was early on at the Mudd Club and I was told told by Steve Mass to do things like play Alvin and The Chipmunks records when it got a bit crowded, to “make everyone uncomfortable,” including myself. Of course I had the record. I also gouged a 45 with scissors insuring the record would skip horribly and then pretend that it wasn’t happening. Just long enough to get the asylum to freak out a little bit.

Later this stuff went out the window but it was quite a formative experience. Humor filtered through even to the most deadly serious moments there. The Mudd Club was a place where twenty people could literally have had twenty different experiences on the same night during the same hour as there was just so much happening on different mental/pharmaceutical levels and different floor levels. Everywhere you turned there was someone amazing. From the way I had grown up, seeing Andy Warhol, John Waters, David Bowie and the Ramones within a twenty minute span was “my” Studio 54. Watching Screamin’ Jay Hawkins while standing next to Jean-Michel Basquiat, seeing the Soft Boys, girl groups like the Angels and the Crystals, Frank Zappa, Bauhaus, Nico, the Dead Boys, Captain Beefheart, John Cale, a Radley Metzger film presented by Sleazoid Express or an impromptu freakout by Warhol Superstar Jackie Curtis, well this was my dream come to life!

My dream hasn’t changed in 40 years. I’m still in awe that it happened. And in the middle of all that I was allowed to put on my own demented conceptual events with friends (“The Puberty Ball,” etc.) and be a regular DJ. The people I came to know in the punk world who wanted more found it at the Mudd Club. Our mad obsession with the Sixties, especially the Warhol/New York sixties, informed much of what we did, and at the same time the Warhol Factory itself became more corporate. The Superstars were by then getting older and pushed out, but they were looking for more themselves, and they were looking to us to inform them, making for some extremely insane morality and immorality plays coming to life before our eyes. Mudd had the pull of what the press called “downtown,” and for the downtown types, well our voices were about to be heard loud and clear.
 
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David Bowie and Dee Dee Ramone. Photo by Bobby Grossman
 
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Howie Pyro deejaying at Mudd

Richard Boch understood all this, and was also an artist himself so he knew who everyone in the art world was, as well as all the new punk stars and celebutantes, no wavers, new wavers, culture vulture gods and the ones who would become gods themselves in a year or so. In the book he talks about being nervous about starting working there but man, he was the one for the job. In the pages of The Mudd Club, Boch’s quite candid about everything you’d want to know (gossip but not mean gossip: sex, drugs, more drugs, and getting home at ten AM, having done every drug and a half dozen people along the way—normal stuff like that). It reads in one, two, or three page sections, my favorite kind of book. You can put it down in ten-minute intervals or read it in any order you want, IF you can put it down at all. I have literally read certain sections backwards for 40-50 pages while looking for something and didn’t really notice. It made me laugh out loud, and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s kind of like “Please Kill Me, the Day After,” though it’s not an oral history as such, as it is written from Richard Boch’s point of view, but it has the same immediate anecdotal feel.
 
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‘TV Party’ at Mudd. Photo by Bob Gruen
 
The club’s benevolent benefactor, Steve Mass, was responsible for making this incredible witches brew keep bubbling and kept the happenings happening. He was willing to do anything, just for the sake of doing it. Steve originally owned an ambulance service. For my 19th birthday they had a huge party for me on the second floor of the Mudd Club. Since Steve had medical connections, and since we were ALL junkies (well, a good 85% of us were), he furnished a massive cake with dozens of syringes with the plungers & needles removed so they could put the candles in the open syringes. This of course turned into a massive cake fight with the participants looking like the Little Rascals (with pinned eyes). Steve was always down for this sorta stuff. As for the main floor, the bands, writers and performers that I saw in a single month’s time was staggering! More than some people see in a lifetime.
 
From the book:

January 1979. The Cramps freaked out The Mudd Club with a loud Psychobilly grind that included such hits as “Human Fly” and “Surfin’ Bird.” A few months later, the “big names” started to appear…

He goes on to say:

The legendary Sam and Dave got onstage a few weekends later, and it was the first time on my watch that I got to see the real deal. By late summer, Talking Heads took the stage while Marianne Faithful, X, Lene Lovich, and the Brides of Funkenstein waited in the wings.

There were so many great performances: Scheduled, impromptu, logical and out of left field. The locals and the regulars were the staple and the stable and performed as part of the White Street experience. They included everyone you could imagine and some you never could. John Cale, Chris Spedding, Judy Nylon and Nico, John Lurie and Philip Glass were just a few. Writers and poets such as William S. Burroughs, Max Blagg, Cookie Mueller, and “Teenage Jesus” Lydia Lunch all wound up on the Mudd Club stage. The talent pool was so deep and occasionally dark that even Hollywood Babylon‘s Luciferian auteur Kenneth Anger got Involved.

Steve’s willingness and generosity along with his guarded enthusiasm offered support to a local community of artists, musicians, and filmmakers. Together with Diego (Cortez)’ and Anya (Phillip’s) short-lived but “dominating” spirit, the Mudd Club became an instant happening, a free-for-all with No Wave orchestration and very few rules.

Diego described the Mudd Club as “a container, a vessel, but certainly not the only one in town.” What made the place unique was its blank-canvas emptiness. When the space filled up, IT happened and everyone wanted to be a part. A living, breathing work of art, it was beautiful and way off center, a slice of golden time.

I was lucky, and soaked it all in.

 
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Nico playing her wheezing harmonium. Photo by Ebet Roberts

All of us who got to be there were lucky. This was a timeless world of it’s own. A world that could be compared to any and all magical artistic movements, scenes or spaces. Dada. Warhol’s Factory, the Beats in NY and SF, Surrealism, etc.—times, places, people all endlessly written about as there’s just so much to say. Everyone involved had a unique experience, true to themselves. This wasn’t just a nightclub, it was so much more. It almost seemed like a private place where, on the best nights, people’s lives and fantasies were put on display and the public was allowed to watch. The public who just came to do coke and dance (as we all did) but who accidentally got touched by a bizarre and wonderful world that lived in the shadows of the city then, usually just brushing against them like a ghost in the night. Whether they even noticed or not, well, who cares?

This first book on the subject (I guarantee it will not be the last) is Richard Boch’s own experience, peppered with those of us who he interviewed for the reminders. This book is about his eyes opening, his chain-wielding power stance, his blowjobs, his drinks, his drugs, all of which are plentiful. It includes a little of most of us, the people we loved, the ones we lost, the games we played, and the love we shared of each other and our mutual history. Still though, there are a million stories in the Mudd’s microcosm of the naked city, this is just one of them.

And what a glorious place to start: right at the front door.
 
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The trailer for the book
 
More Mudd Club after the jump…

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Posted by Howie Pyro
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09.19.2017
02:47 pm
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Running Gun Blues: Arms dealer uses David Bowie’s image to sell bullets?
09.18.2017
11:24 am
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The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) conference took place last week in the Docklands in eastern London, and the event featured a creepy, unauthorized cameo by an unexpected star from the world of music. The event draws roughly 1,500 exhibitors from the world representing the world of, ahem, “global defence and security”—in other words, it’s the world’s biggest arms fair, and military delegations from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Pakistan showed up to do a little window-shopping for rocket launchers and the like. While the DSEI tries to keep a low profile in the media, it did not succeed in that goal, as more than 100 people were arrested for protesting the event.

An artist named Darren Cullen spotted the jarring visage of Aladdin Sane-era David Bowie peeking out from one of the displays and posted a picture to Twitter:
 

 
It’s a little bit hard to make out; here’s a blown-up version of the image:
 

 
The company that decided to incorporate Aladdin Sane into its display is the Cheshire-based firm Edgar Brothers, which has been in business for 70 years (note the 70th anniversary logo in the stand, at upper left). It touts itself as “one of the oldest, most well established importers and wholesalers of firearms, ammunition and associated products in the UK and Northern Ireland.” The photographer of the original image was Brian Duffy, who passed away in 2010. According to the Newham Recorder, “A spokeswoman for the Duffy Archive confirmed the photo had not been approved and that the stand had been removed on their request.”

Cullen has artwork on display at an art exhibition protesting the arms convention. Here’s Cullen’s account of spotting the image:
 

I was checking Instagram to see if any of the DSEI contractors were posting about being behind schedule due to the Stop the Arms Fair blockades and I saw this photo of the UK arms trade pavilion with a giant picture of David Bowie. It really stuck out to have someone like Bowie featured among this festival of violence, and just in really bad taste considering his own recent death.

[...]

I got in touch with the rights-holder of the photograph, the estate of the photographer Duffy, and just hoped to hell they hadn’t given permission for these bastards to use his image. They got back to me the next morning thanking me for bringing it to their attention and saying they had definitely not given permission and they’d been frantically trying to have the photo removed. The Duffy Archive were really on top of it, full credit to them. They finally got hold of a director at Edgar Brothers and the display was taken down straight away due to their complaint. As far as I know, they’re still in discussions as to what the next steps are. I hope the Duffy Archive hammer them for it.

 
One endeavors to imagine the conversation that preceded the construction of the stand:
 

Arms Dealer A: This display is a little bleak. We should make it more about “hope” somehow.
Arms Dealer B: I know! Let’s put in John Lennon! Everybody loves him.
Arms Dealer A: Eeesh, I don’t know. The “Imagine” guy? That might be a little much with him getting shot and all…
Arms Dealer B: How about ... David Bowie then? He died… normal.
Arms Dealer A: I like it. Let’s dance!

 
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade amusingly reminded Bowie fans that the rock star would not have endorsed the activities of Edgar Brothers:
 

DSEI and the UK government may be experts at pushing arms exports, but when it comes to David Bowie they are absolute beginners. The real heroes were protesting outside DSEI, while the scary monsters and super creeps were inside. We need to do all we can to keep the arms fair under pressure.

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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09.18.2017
11:24 am
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David Bowie, Dennis Hopper and/or Dean Stockwell bring blow to Iggy Pop in a psych ward, 1975


Iggy Pop and Dennis Hopper talking shop back in the day.
 

“By 1975, I was totally into drugs, and my willpower had been vastly depleted. But still, I had the brains to commit myself to a hospital, and I survived with willpower and a lot of help from David Bowie. I survived because I wanted to.”

—Iggy Pop on how he got by with a little help from his friend David Bowie while locked up in the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital .

If you suddenly broke into an off-key chorus of “That’s What Friends Are For” while reading through this post about Iggy Pop’s stay at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital, I’d understand. Let’s face it—when the cards are stacked against you, and your life takes a giant nosedive into a pile of shit (or cocaine, booze or other bad shit, or shit in general really), you get to find out who your real friends are. In this case, Iggy Pop found out that none other than Dennis Hopper, that suave motherfucker himself Dean Stockwell, and of course his BFF, David Bowie, were his. However, this was back in 1975, and Iggy’s trio of pals at the time routinely consumed cocaine and all kinds of other drugs at alarming rates just like he did—which was one of the reasons Pop had voluntarily checked himself into the UCLA psych ward. 1975 was a tough year for Iggy after he found himself in Los Angeles with virtually no money and mostly no Stooges after the band disbanded, due in part due to Iggy’s heavy heroin problem which culminated in Iggy and the Stooges falling apart onstage at a gig in Michigan in 1974. Here’s rock journalist Lester Bangs’ account of what went down the night Iggy and the Stooges imploded:

“The audience, which consisted largely of bikers, was unusually hostile, and Iggy, as usual, fed on that hostility, soaked it up and gave it back and absorbed it all over again in an eerie, frightening symbiosis. “All right,” he finally said, stopping a song in the middle, “you assholes wanta hear ‘Louie, Louie,’ we’ll give you ‘Louie, Louie.’” So the Stooges played a forty-five-minute version of “Louie Louie,” including new lyrics improvised by the Pop on the spot consisting of “You can suck my ass / You biker faggot sissies,” etc. By now the hatred in the room is one huge livid wave, and Iggy singles out one heckler who has been particularly abusive: “Listen, asshole, you heckle me one more time, and I’m gonna come down there and kick your ass.” “Fuck you, you little punk,” responds the biker. So Iggy jumps off the stage, runs through the middle of the crowd, and the guy beats the shit out of him, ending the evening’s musical festivities by sending the lead singer back to his motel room and a doctor. I walk into the dressing room, where I encounter the manager of the club offering to punch out anybody in the band who will take him on. The next day the bike gang, who call themselves the Scorpions, will phone WABX-FM and promise to kill Iggy and the Stooges if they play the Michigan Palace on Thursday night. They do (play, that is), and nobody gets killed, but Metallic K.O. is the only rock album I know where you can actually hear hurled beer bottles breaking against guitar strings.”

 

Iggy and Stooges guitarist James Williamson.
 
Following that act, Iggy went back to LA and as Stooges guitarist James Williamson recalls Pop was living in a small apartment on Sunset Strip where he spent his days completely blotto on any substance he could put in his body to get high. Pop would eventually lose his digs and stayed with Williamson for a short time before he ending up romancing the streets of Los Angeles where he apparently got arrested several times for various infractions. Upon his last appearance in court, he was given two options—prison or he could voluntarily check himself into a psychiatric hospital. While in treatment at UCLA under the care of Dr. Murray Zucker he went through detox and was diagnosed with a condition known as hypomania. Though it was likely no fun, it was probably a lot better than being in prison. Besides, as the title of this post indicates, he had lots of friends coming by to visit him. And that’s where this story gets a whole lot weirder.

According to the 2012 book David Bowie: The Golden Years, actor Dean Stockwell visited Pop at UCLA along with Bowie allegedly dressed up in space suits (though perhaps just Bowie was in disguise), completely stoned politely demanding “We want to see Jimmy. Let us in.” According to Pop’s account of the event, they actually let Bowie and Stockwell see him because they were “star struck” by their presence, despite the fact that they were clearly high as fuck. Once inside Iggy’s room, Bowie broke out some blow to share with Pop which he took, but in Iggy’s own words, he only indulged “a little.” David Bowie has also spoken about his clandestine visits to Pop recalling that it was Dennis Hopper who he came calling on Iggy with while the former Stooge was trying to maintain his sobriety and mental health. Here’s the Thin White Duke on how that went:

“If I remember it right, it was me and Dennis Hopper. We trooped into the hospital with a load of drugs for (Iggy) him. This was very much a leave-your-drugs-at-the-door hospital. We were out of our minds, all of us. He wasn’t well; that’s all we knew. We thought we should bring him some drugs because he probably hadn’t had any for days!”

I’ve always believed that only a real friend would smuggle drugs for you, and David Bowie (and Dennis or was it Dean?) proved that point for me.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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09.13.2017
10:05 am
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The Mullet: Obvious contender for the world’s worst hairstyle
09.07.2017
10:55 am
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There’s an axiom I have about life which states “If it looked good on David Bowie then it’ll look shit on you.”

The obvious example was that daft craze for Bowie pants in the late 1970s early 1980s around Bowie’s Thin White Duke phase. These narrow-waist, wide-thighed yet tightly tapered at the ankle trousers looked the biz on the Main Man but let’s be honest they looked utter shit on everybody else. They were like giant incontinence trousers for men. It was a mere hop and skip to imagine the gallons of urine slopping around inside each pant leg when seen on wannabe cool guys up town on a Saturday night.

Another fine (and let’s be honest probably the best) example was the car crash of a hairstyle known as the Mullet.

Bowie popped up with one in the early 1970s when he was doing Aladdin Sane and singing “Life on Mars.” Bowie looked cool. He looked exotic. He looked taboo. But when the very same hairstyle was sported by various hairy soccer stars and bland TV personalities a decade or so later in the 1980s, it was like inmates from the Bide-a-wee care home for the criminally attired had escaped.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “the Mullet was “coined” by the Beastie Boys (really?) in their song “Mullet Head” in 1994. But I’m not sure this is correct as I recall the term being used with abandon during the 1980s in the UK.

The mullet was a strange welding together of two different hairstyles—usually a flat top or feather cut on top with long rat’s tails at the back. It was an aberration, sure, but it is an aberration that still persists to this day like knotweed in gardens. Here for your delectation and education is a small selection of the hairstyle every sensible person should avoid at all cost.
 
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David Bowie—the only person who can sport a mullet and not look stupid.
 
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Y’see what I mean…
 
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English soccer star Chris Waddle seemed to have this hairstyle longer than his playing career.
 
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More of the hairstyle that time forgot, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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09.07.2017
10:55 am
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When David Bowie was in Iggy Pop’s band: Their final concert
08.18.2017
10:17 am
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Moscow, 1976
 
Iggy Pop’s The Idiot LP wasn’t just his solo debut; the 1977 album marked his return after three years of laying low. Though credited solely to Pop, The Idiot was a collaboration between Iggy and his friend, David Bowie. Iggy has attributed his rebirth to Bowie, who he’s said “resurrected” him. He’s spoken many times over the years of his appreciation for Bowie’s faith in him, and for his kindness.

Here’s an anecdote from Iggy’s 1982 book, I need more: The Stooges and other stories, that took place during the recording of The Idiot:

One day we were in Chateau d’Herouville in France, outside Paris, taking a ping-pong break. Never in my life had I been able to play ping-pong. I never had the coordination—literally couldn’t play.

David said, “Come on, give me a game.”

“I can’t. I can’t play.”

But I tried it, and suddenly that I day I could play, and I’m playing and were about tied and I said, “You know, man, this is weird. Really weird. I always failed at this game and now I can play it.”

He said, “Well, Jim, it’s probably because you’re feeling better about yourself.” In the most gentlest way he said that, because usually, you know, nobody wants to be anybody’s teacher or leaner. You know what I mean? In the very gentlest way he said that. I just thought that was a nice answer. Three games later, I beat him and he never played me again. I got good REAL fast.

 
March 1, 1977 poster
 
Bowie continued to support Iggy during The Idiot era, becoming a member of Pop’s band for the six-week jaunt promoting the album. The outing began on March 1 in Aylesbury for a run of dates in England, before coming to North America mid-month. The famed Dinah! appearance was on April 15, with the final show of the tour happening the following evening.
 
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‘Mantra Studios Broadcast 1977.’ Chicago, March 28, 1977 (radio broadcast).

Bowie kept a low profile during this period, both on and off stage. Up until the Dinah! taping, he refused all interview requests, and during the shows he rarely looked at the audience, most of whom had no prior knowledge that he was part of Iggy’s group. Bowie played piano and keyboards, and the band also included guitarist Ricky Gardiner, as well as bassist Tony Sales, and drummer Hunt Sales. The Sales brothers also contributed backing vocals, as did Bowie.
 
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‘Live In Concert – Cleveland 1977.’ Agora Ballroom, March 22, 1977.

The last date took place at the San Diego Civic Auditorium on April 16.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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08.18.2017
10:17 am
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Gavin Evans’ magnificent portraits of Bowie, Björk, Iggy, and Nick Cave

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David Bowie.
 
The Monday morning mailbag arrived with its usual gifts of bills, party invites, ransom demands (which I really must get around to paying), and “Dear John” letters. I was about to tip all this largesse into the bin when I noticed a postcard from a dear friend Christopher. It was the usual greetings of “Having a lovely time” and “Wish you were here” kind of thing but what saved it from the trash was the front photograph of David Bowie by Gavin Evans.

Now we all have favorite photographers and one of mine is certainly Mr. Evans who has taken some of the most magnificent, gorgeous, and iconic images of the past two decades. The photograph of Bowie shushing with a finger to his lips like he did in the promo for “China Girl” has been used on numerous magazine covers, photospreads, TV documentaries, and pirated for Internet memes, urban graffiti, and even tattoos. Its ubiquity one would hope should have made Mr. Evans a very rich man—but somehow (sadly) I very much doubt that.

Another of Evans’ Bowie photographs—a color portrait in which he wore blue contact lenses—captured a vulnerability that I’d never seen before (see picture above). It was as if Bowie allowed his guard down for just a moment and had unknowingly (or perhaps willingly) revealed a more vulnerable and intimate side. The picture was taken in 1995 for a Time Out cover. A couple of years later, Bowie contacted Evans and asked for a print of this picture to hang in his office. Bowie explained to Evans that this was his favorite portrait.

That’s the thing I like about Evans’ work—he has an uncanny talent for capturing the very essence of his subject matter. His photographs make the gods flesh. Look at his portraits of Nick Cave which reveal something of the man behind the public persona or his series of photographs of Björk which capture a tender and humorous side sometimes lacking from more traditional photo shoots. Or just look at his portrait of John Hurt where you can see the pores of the actor’s skin and peer right into his soul.

Christopher’s Bowie postcard is now pinned to the wall. I browsed for more of Evans work and was happily surprised to find a selection of his most powerful and iconic work is currently on tour. Then something even better, a selection of Evans’ beautiful prints are availble to buy. Now every home can have a Gavin Evans on their wall.
 
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David Bowie.
 
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See more of Gavin Evans majestic photographs, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.10.2017
11:18 am
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‘Beside Bowie’: Watch the new Mick Ronson documentary before it gets yanked!
05.31.2017
12:25 pm
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Mick Ronson might be considered the #1 Spider from Mars. He certainly will go down in history as one of David Bowie’s chief collaborators and one of the people most responsible for the glam sound.

Ronson worked on several of the core albums of Bowie’s early period, including most obviously The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars as well as The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, and Aladdin Sane. He played on All the Young Dudes by Mott the Hoople and Transformer by Lou Reed, on which he was also a producer. In 1974 Ronson released his first solo album, Slaughter on 10th Avenue on which appeared the Elvis cover “Love Me Tender” and “Growing Up and I’m Fine,” co-written by Bowie.

“All the Young Dudes,” “Perfect Day,” and “Walk on the Wild Side” are just a few of the legendary songs Ronson was significantly involved with. He also worked with Bob Dylan and Morrissey. Sadly, Ronson passed away of liver cancer on April 29, 1993, at the age of 46.

Beside Bowie: The Story of Mick Ronson is a new documentary produced by Emperor Media Production in association with Cardinal Releasing Ltd. It was directed by Jon Brewer, who has also produced movies on B.B. King and Nat King Cole. Today it popped up unceremoniously on Vimeo.

The movie features interviews with Angie Bowie, Lou Reed, Tony Visconti, Ian Hunter, Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols, Roger Taylor of Queen, and Joe Elliott of Def Leppard. Bowie’s comments are uniformly delivered in voiceover.

As David Bowie once said, “As a rock duo, I thought we were every bit as good as Mick and Keith, or Axl and Slash. Ziggy and Mick were the personification of that rock and roll dualism.” Watch Beside Bowie before it gets pulled.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.31.2017
12:25 pm
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Sound + Vision: David Bowie plays ‘Low’ in concert, 2002
05.16.2017
11:39 am
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In 2002 David Bowie was in a very different place from he was when he recorded Low in Berlin twenty-five years earlier. Who wouldn’t be, after all? In 1976 Bowie, trying desperately to extricate himself from a serious cocaine addiction, absconded to the European continent, specifically Berlin, where he commenced a period of activity that would elevate him into the category of unquestionable rock and roll legends once and for all.

He chose Berlin because he could exist there in relative anonymity: “Berliners just didn’t care. Well, not about an English rock singer, anyway.” He didn’t realize at the time that he was entering a scene with heavy heroin availability, but luckily that didn’t prove deleterious to his health or sanity: “I moved out of the coke center of the world into the smack center of the world. Thankfully, I didn’t have a feeling for smack, so it wasn’t a threat.”

Bowie helped Iggy Pop record The Idiot and became inspired by (among other things) Brian Eno’s album Discreet Music. He met up with Eno and their first collaboration was the moody, bracing and unexpected album Low, which startled not merely a few Bowie fans.

Jump to the early 2000s. 9/11 occurred during the post-production phase of Heathen, which came out in June of 2002, and while Bowie was never quick to point to it as a “9/11 album,” he did acknowledge that there was a connection there, calling it “a traumatic album to finish” and emphasizing that “we live down here,” i.e. downtown Manhattan.
 

 
In 2002 for his Heathen Tour, Bowie planned a limited number of concerts in which he would play Low start to finish. (Actually he ended up choosing to play the tracks out of order, but whatevs.) The first Low show was at Roseland Ballroom in New York on June 11, 2002. The other three shows in which he played the full album took place in London, Cologne, and Montreux. (Those four shows, as well as one other show in Denmark the same year, appear to be the only times Bowie ever played “Weeping Wall” live. Setlist.fm isn’t aware of any others, anyway.) 

The Low set at the Montreux Jazz Festival was captured on video with high-quality audio and video. The date was July 18, 2002, which was also the final time Bowie ever played the album live.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.16.2017
11:39 am
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Finally, you can watch David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s daytime TV appearance on ‘Dinah!’ in full
05.03.2017
11:07 am
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The August 1990 issue of SPIN—which came out closer to the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show than to Lorde’s appearance on SNL a few weeks back—was dedicated to “35 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The issue contained a feature that purported to list “35 Greatest Moments in Rock ‘n’ Roll Television.” Here is a sample entry from the list:
 

April 15, 1977: Iggy Pop and David Bowie were guests on Dinah’s Place. Promoting Lust for Life, Iggy and David, along with Tony Sales on bass and Hunt Sales on drums, performed “Sister Midnight” and “Fun Time.” During the interview segment, Bowie was shown in tears from trying to stifle his laughter when Dinah Shore asked Iggy what it felt like to crawl around on broken glass.

 
This was Iggy‘s first appearance on television—if you don’t count Midsummer Rock a television program based on the infamous Cincinnati Pop Festival of 1970—as he says during the lead-in to “Sister Midnight.” As is well known (and as Iggy mentions), the father of the Sales brothers was none other the children’s TV personality Soupy Sales. Ricky Gardiner played guitar that day, Bowie was on the keyboards.

In the pre-Wikipedia days of 1990, it would have been hard to know that Dinah’s Place ended in 1974 and that the show Iggy and Bowie appeared on was called Dinah! Also, Iggy was promoting The Idiot—both of the songs he played are on The Idiot. Lust for Life didn’t come out until August (it was a good year for Iggy, indubitably).

Seated on the panel alongside Dinah is Rosemary Clooney, aunt to George and a successful singer in her own right. It’s hard not to notice that the interface of Dinah/Rosemary on the one side and Bowie/Iggy on the other is a very unusual transmission of the punk/glam ethos to a mostly unsuspecting audience. Iggy is super likeable here, but then again he is usually very likeable.

Dinah asks if Iggy has ever influenced anybody, and he retorts that he “helped wipe out the ‘60s.” This gets a huge laugh, most notably from Bowie himself. Later on Bowie beats himself up for adopting an “American accent.”

SPIN’s account notwithstanding, the moment when Bowie really loses it is during the standing interview segment before “Sister Midnight” when Iggy describes losing his teeth because of “getting too violent onstage” (Iggy’s parents helped pay for the replacements). Dinah wonders whether Iggy’s parents mind that he performs without a shirt—he says they’re OK with it.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.03.2017
11:07 am
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80s ‘Superfans’ talk about their obsessions for Bowie, Boy George, Duran Duran & Elvis

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Superfans in the sixties.
 
I don’t suppose I fit the requirements to be called a superfan, well, unless you count having a cheeky wank to a Kate Bush video when I was much younger. Probably not. But I did once (all too briefly) date a tall blonde David Bowie superfan, who probably only ever went out with me because of my passable impression of the Thin White Duke. My vocal dexterity was convincing enough for this dear sweet girl to demand I serenade her with one or two of her favorite Bowie songs during our more intimate moments. I knew it could never last. There was only so long I could sing “The Laughing Gnome” without losing my ardor.

Back in January 1984, Smash Hits music magazine went in search of a selection of typical eighties superfans. They discovered a band of girls and boys who had an overwhelming passion for all things Bowie, Presley, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Madness, Staus Quo, and even Marillion. These young things gave some sweet and occasionally strange answers as they tried to explain exactly what it means to be a “superfan.” Their answers were compiled into a strange format—as if the writer was attempting to cram in as many words as possible into one sentence without thought for punctuation or even explaining who exactly was talking (Me). But that’s not so important as we do get to hear what it meant to be young(-ish) and obsessed with music in the 1980s.
 
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Smash Hits 5-18 January 1984.
 
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DURAN FANS

NAMES: TRACY PARKES & KIM GREVILLE
AGES: 15 & 14
HOME: BIRMINGHAM

“I (Tracy) liked them when they first came out. She talked me (Kim) into going on Duran Duran ‘cause I liked Dexys. She told me to take down all my DMR stuff, give it away and stick up Duran Duran. We have about the same amount of stuff. Tracy has more scrapbooks but I’ve got more on the wall—about 50 different things. We don’t get anything. We only get things if we like them. If it’s a really gonkified pic of Simon le Bon we won’t get it. You don’t put gonks on your wall do you? There’s sort of levels of being a fan. We’ve got a friend who is a real fan but we think she prefers football. She only puts up little pictures on her wall. Even if we see a little one when we’re walking up the street, we’ll be screaming. There was one time she went totally mad on Wham!. We didn’t talk to her for about three days. Then suddenly she went back to Duran. All the lost Duran Duran fans are Wham! fans. We visit Roger’s mum and we’ve been up to Nick and John’s parents’ houses. The first time we went to Roger’s we interviewed his mum for a school project and we found out a few facts that no-one else knew. She told us he was tone deaf and that his favourite toy was a glove puppet. And that his favourite meal is Welsh Rarebit. We’ve been up twice now. No three times. The last time she invited us. His dad was there decorating. We had our pictures took with his dad, his mum and the dog. I think people who go mad and sleep on the grass outside are cruel. OK, you might see him but he isn’t going to ask you out and that is what a lot of fans expect. Some of the girls say they are going to meet John Taylor one day. He’s going to swirl them round to the dinner table—with chocolates and everything—and ask them to marry him. We know that isn’t going to happen. I (Tracy) would love to be in one of their videos. Yeah (Kim), even if we were only standing at the bus stop. Anything. The only thing we have in common is that we’re Duran Duran fans. I’m (Tracy) quiet; she’s noisy. I (Kim) say the wrong things; she doesn’t”

 
More superfans discussing their love of Staus Quo, Madness, Elvis Presley and David Bowie, after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.26.2017
09:46 am
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‘Bowie, Bolan, dressing up & going out’: Boy George takes a personal trip through the 1970s
04.21.2017
09:31 am
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September 1982: Hit rock ‘n’ roll singer Shakin’ Stevens can’t make his scheduled appearance on BBC chart show Top of the Pops. Panicked producers make the life-changing decision to fill the gap left by Shaky with an unknown pop group by the name of Culture Club. Minutes after the band’s debut television appearance on the show, phones start ringing at the BBC switchboard asking What the hell did we just watch?. Next day, newspapers run similar stories filled with offensive mock outrage questions: “Who is Boy George?” “Is he a boy or a girl?” Within weeks, Culture Club was number one and Boy George was the nation’s sweetheart.

But how did it come to this? Where did Boy George come from? What shaped the life of this brilliant, iconic “gender-bending” singer?

Well, these are some of the many questions answered by the lad himself as Boy George aka George O’Dowd takes the viewer on a very personal pop culture trip through the decade that shaped him—the 1970s.

The seventies are all too often dismissed by the more, shall we say, snobbish cultural critic as “the decade that fashion forgot,” ridiculed for its supposedly bad taste in fashion, politics, sex, music and hair. Yet for Boy George, the seventies was a “glorious decade…all about Bowie, Bolan, dressing up and going out.” The “last bonkers decade,” when the young teenage George discovered all these “amazing things… punk rock, electro music, fashion, all of that.”

Of course, there was the downside to all of this heady excitement: the political crisis, the three-day working weeks, the strikes, power cuts, mass unemployment, grim poverty, and racism. But George was too young to know much about any of this. He was too busy finding out about music and glamor and miming to Shirley Bassey in his parent’s front room. He was about to hit puberty. He felt different from the other kids and was looking for a sign that he was not alone in this gray suburban south London landscape.

Then came the sign he’d been hoping for: the day he saw David Bowie performing on Top of the Pops in 1972. That’s when George knew he wasn’t alone. The androgynous Bowie in his fire-red hair, make-up, and jumpsuit with his nail polished hand slung defiantly over Mick Ronson’s shoulder as they sang “Starman.” This was a sign that life could be extraordinary and was just an adventure to be gained.

Save Me from Suburbia is more than just Boy George telling his life story, it is an essential history of the events and pop culture that shaped a nation during ten heady years from skinheads and strikes to punk and Margaret Thatcher. George takes us on an utterly fascinating tour through the decade with a little help from his friends and accomplices like Rusty Egan, Princess Julia, Martin Degville (Sigue Sigue Sputnik), Andy Polaris (Animal Nightlife), and Caryn Franklin—and most revealingly his mother.
 
Watch Boy George’s revealing pop culture trip through the 1970s, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.21.2017
09:31 am
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David Bowie’s Laura Ashley wallpaper tribute to Lucian Freud (with a Brian Eno assist)
04.10.2017
12:54 pm
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David Bowie once concocted an intriguing homage to Lucian Freud by combining an artwork of his with a lush Laura Ashley wallpaper pattern. It was exhibited at that year’s “New Afro-Pagan and Work: 1975-1995” show and soon after taken up by Brian Eno for a charity he was involved with.

The fashion event was called “Pagan FunWear,” for which the beneficiary was the charity War Child; it showcased, among other things, “a quirky leather tie” by Lou Reed, some “strange shoes” by Jarvis Cocker, and “a suit of bandages” by Bowie. According to Paul Gorman, Eno also put together a “soundtrack” for the event called Antennae #1, which took the form of a limited edition box that included a CD of Eno’s soundtrack, a photo by Anton Corbijn, a watercolor by Patrick Hughes, and a “scrap” of Bowie’s wallpaper.

Eno helpfully supplied an “instruction manual” for those who ponied up the hundred pounds for a copy of Antennae #1, which today can be purchased on eBay for 275 pounds (about $340), although all you get is the CD, none of the other fun doodads such as the swath of Bowie’s wallpaper.
 

 
Here’s the wallpaper, which as mentioned incorporates an image of Freud’s:
 

 
Gorman discussed an encounter with Bowie in connection as a result of that event:
 

I met David Bowie when I was a member of a small think-tank for the charity War Child, working on the 1994 London art show Little Pieces From Big Stars which exhibited and then auctioned artworks produced by musicians. The exhibition and auction dinner were organised by Brian Eno and his wife Anthea. Bowie was very engaging, evidently super-bright and witty.

 
Gorman noted his impression that the wallpaper represents something like the essence of Bowie’s work and personality: “The fact that this shred depicting the great and serious artist Freud uses as its base a quintessentially English Laura Ashley print makes it funny, and, somehow, for me, very, very Bowie.”

Interestingly, Bowie himself was not entirely effusive about Freud’s work. In 1998 he desisted from signing on to the painter’s greatness, telling the New York Times that “I admire the trickery of his work, the cankerous skin, which is nice and grungy. But I don’t buy into him being the greatest painter that we have,” presumably referring to the United Kingdom there.

According to Reuters, Bowie actually created two Laura Ashley wallpapers for the “New Afro-Pagan” show. The design of the other pattern featured a minotaur, but the Laura Ashley people apparently insisted on censoring the private parts of the creature. This led to Bowie humorously noting of the work process with Laura Ashley, “It’s been a good working relationship, apart from the castration, that is.”

Hey Laura Ashley, when are you going to make a product line of this so that us Bowie nuts can use it for real?
 
via Church of David Bowie
 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Francis Bacon’s lost painting of Lucian Freud turns up after 45 years
‘Song portraits’: What does music by Radiohead, Stevie Wonder & David Bowie LOOK like?

Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.10.2017
12:54 pm
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Super rare David Bowie promotional items from the 70s and 80s
04.07.2017
07:34 am
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An image of David Bowie used for a poster put out by RCA Japan in 1980. Bowie was in Japan filming a television ad for Takara Shochu “Jun” Sake. The image was later recycled for the sleeve for the 1980 Japan exclusive instrumental single “Crystal Japan.”
 
I recently came across some pretty amazing images of David Bowie that were taken for various promotional endeavors in the 70s and 80s. Some were a part of press kits assembled for various films featuring The Thin White Duke, some from his record marketing collateral as well as some incredibly rare posters that were only released in Japan and the UK. Some of the scarce items showcased in this post include promotional “mobile displays.” Here’s the thing about mobile displays, since they were made in super small quantities and most ended up getting carried off or ruined by wear and tear, they are incredibly difficult to come by. Especially if it happens to involve David Bowie. They also tend to be expensive when you do find them/

A few of the photographs and other ephemera I’ve posted below are actually for sale at collectibles site Rock Explosion though some contain the requirement that you inquire as to their cost—and you know what that means. If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. So in light of that, I suggest that you kick back and enjoy looking at our dearly departed David below.
 

BBC publicity photo of Bowie from the production of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Baal’ taken in 1981.

 

An almost unrecognizable Bowie in a promotional poster for the EP release of ‘Baal,’ his last with RCA, 1981.
 

A cardboard standup display of Bowie holding a glass of milk for ‘Young Americans’ 1975.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.07.2017
07:34 am
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Kitchy vintage dishware with images of Prince, David Bowie, Robert Smith, Lemmy, Moz & more!


A vintage plate with an image of Robert Smith of The Cure and a kitty by Miss Scarlett of Dirty Lola. Get it here.
 
Today’s “take my money please” post features beguiling, vintage dishware that has been reworked to include images of David Bowie, Robert Smith of The Cure, Lemmy Kilmister, Morrissey, Prince and a few other famous faces.

Miss Scarlet is a professional illustrator who has also honed her artistic craft in the mediums of watercolor, digital illustration, and graphic design and she has really done a fantastic job of selecting ornate vintage dishes to use as the base of her clever designer “for display only” dishware. Which makes sense as the talented artist has also spent time working as a designer for the fashion houses of John Galliano, Dior, and Christian Lacroix. There are over fifty different designer plates avaliable at Miss Scarlett’s Etsy store, Dirty Lola that come in various sizes and run anywhere between $29.99 to $75 bucks. I’ve posted a few of the most covetable ones below.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.07.2017
06:21 am
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Wild portraits of Dali, Bowie, Jimi, Jagger, Bruce Lee, Basquiat & more made from junk
03.29.2017
11:22 am
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A portrait of David Bowie made out of junk by Bernard Pas.
 
French painter, photographer, and sculptor Bernard Pras has been creating pictures out of everyday objects such as toys, wood, clothing and whatever else he happened to come across for over two decades. Many of the finished products are remarkable portraits of some of the world’s most famous faces such as David Bowie, Andy Warhol, Bruce Lee and Jack Nicholson as “Jack Torrance” from The Shining.

Pras is very discerning when it comes to the selection process for his individual pieces—and it is that thought process that helps the the dexterous artist create a sense of life in his elaborate portraits and other works comprised of objects that he perhaps collected from Goodwill bargain bins filled with doll parts, bits of clothing and even food. I’ve included a nice selection of Pras’ portraits, one of which is quite NSFW which you can see at the very end of this post.
 

Jack Nicholson as his character “Jack Torrance” from ‘The Shining.’
 

Jimi Hendrix, 2000.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.29.2017
11:22 am
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