David Bowie

ARTICLE ABOUT Trevor Bolder (Spiders From Mars) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 28, 1976

This update on my blog took longer than expected because of commitments at work, but finally; here is a new post for you all to enjoy. This time with one very important bass player. This article should be of equal interest for Bowie-fans as for fans of Uriah Heep and Mick Ronson.
Trevor Bolder sadly died in May 2013 at the age of 62 from cancer.

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“We`ve still got the Bowie costumes. We can wear those.”

…says down-home, duffle-coated, non-decadent Spider From Mars Trevor Bolder to debonair, trench-coated, cosmopolitan Lizard from Poland Chris Salewicz (late of the uncredited Gong feature on last week`s page 12). Thrill to it!

Hull. H.U.L.L.
Ah, the romance contained in those four letters: Images of a nation torn apart by the hardship inflicted on the Men Of Hull by the heinous Icelanders; a spiritual kinship with the Brest of Jean Genet; the scent of rotting fish drifting down the Beverley Road. Perhaps one day Sailor will write a romantic concept album about Hull.
Unless the Spiders From Mars beat `em to it.
It is in Hull (where else?) that the Spiders From Mars are currently tucked away rehearsing for a British tour. “A long way from David Bowie,” you might think. “How unchic,” you may well grunt. And you`d probably be right.
After all, these lads could well be accused of being a little naughty going around calling themselves by that name. Wherefore art thou, Ronno? Also half-whither pianist Mike Garson direct from working with Lulu and David Essex – who`s about to split the land back to his native USA to renew his British visa. He will not be joining the Spiders From Mars. He has, however, played on their album. He may join them for the tour, when it materialises. If they haven`t managed to find another keyboard player, that is.
And “they”? “They” are bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Woody Woodmansey. Half the original Bowie-backing Spiders. To be precise, the rhythm section.

“All depends on how much importance you put on a name and how much you put on the music and the band,” comments Trevor Bolder stunningly. We are seated on some peculiarly spine-twisting Habitat chairs (the Campus range, actually) in an office overlooking the Edgware Road at the headquarters of Pye. Not Hull in the strictest geographical sense, perhaps, but close to it spiritually.
With Trevor is Pete McDonald, the Spiders` vocalist. Pete speaks infrequently and yawns frequently. This is because he couldn`t go to sleep last night because he was driving down from his home in Newcastle to London. Via Hull, of course, to pick up Trevor from his home.
Now, Trevor. I do feel it unlikely that you would have been booked to play the few billtopping college dates you have played if you`d been masquerading as the 50% unknown band that you actually are under another name.
“I dunno. I never booked them.” More Trevor Bolder stun-speech. And then: “It`s a leverage. It`s a place for us to go from. Why the hell should I try and start rock-bottom again if I`ve got something I can use? But it`s as hard for us to use the name again as it is not to use it, if you know what I mean. Because people say `Oh, the bloody Spiders again. What they doin`?`. And then they just brush it aside.
“But we like the name and we never did get to do an album on our own as a backup band. Which was planned to be done. It fell through when we just disbanded, you know, when Ronson went and did his own album. And so we decided to do one. And we like the name. We think it`s a good name. It`s unusual. People always go `Oooo. What?`.”

And yet, Trevor, you must admit to only being half of the original Spiders.
“I think if we`re going to do anything anyway it`s going to be on what music the band gives off.” Trevor disposes with further finicky obsessions about detail with true Northern bluntness.
With the exception of Woody Woodmansey – who is at this moment ” `ammerin` out” a new drum-kit down in East Grinstead (ho-hum) and who was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar – all the Bowie Spiders recorded “Pinups”. “Pinups” was, in fact, the last time that these musicians were to record with the Beckenham Boy although no-one knew that at the time. Shortly afterwards they entered the studio with Mick Ronson in charge to lay down the tracks for “Slaughter On 10th Avenue”.
“I thought `e should have played more rock`n`roll meself to be honest,” laughs Trevor, “I really thought he shouldn`t have gone out and tried to be a singer. He should have concentrated on being a rock guitar player.”
Question voiced: So whose idea was it that he should lay down his guitar and start airing the tonsils? (Question implied: So tell me all about Tony De Fries` manipulation of Poor Innocent Ronno?).
“Is. It was `is career. `E did what `e wanted. `E `ad a free `and in everything `e wanted to do. `E wasn`t told by De Fries. I think `e just `ad a lack of experience at that point in what direction to go in and `e just got together wheatever `e could and just did an album. And `e just went in the direction it went in.”
The Pye press officer sticks his head around the door and mumbles something unintelligible to my ears.

“We`re `oping,” Trevor translates, “to be doing the big dates with Dave in London as a support band. It`s just an idea that we`ve been talking on the phone about” (the much more financially reasonable localised Hull telephone service, I expect). “Might not come off. All depends what `e feels like. But `e keeps changing `is mind. You can never tell with `im. `E`s that sort of a person,” he adds, looking knowingly at me.
You had that problem with him when you were working together?
“Oooooh. All the time.”
Because I`ve always had the impression that David Bowie is enormously together and seems to know exactly what he wants.
“Oh, `e does but I mean like. `E knows what `e`s after. `E knows what direction `e`s going in but `e changes `is mind about things. For the right time. One day `e`ll say one thing and then `e`ll realise it`s the wrong thing and `e`ll change it again. That`s the way `e works.”
As a young lady enters the room to search unsuccessfully for “Jim`s diary” – Trevor talks about DB and Money: “We was just on wages. Always was. Well,” he pauses a moment or two, “We thought it might have been different but it never was. I mean, we got good wages. The money went up as the band progressed. As it got bigger and bigger we earned more. We didn`t earn a fortune like people thought we did. De Fries and Dave earned the money. We just earned a good living.”

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So what happened after “Pinups”? Why`dja pack it in?
“With Bowie??? I didn`t really pack it in. You mean playing? I don`t know.” He says it as if the question has never occurred to him. “We never saw each other after that. I mean, I didn`t see David for about four or five months, you know, and I went off and played on Mick`s album. And whether `e thought `Eh eh? `E`s gone off with Mick and I`ll get somebody else in` I don`t know.
“But I just accepted it. I was too busy working wi` Mick.”
“On to play on `Don`t Worry`, the second Mick Ronson solo album,” I prompt?
He nods: “That was a funny album. It took months. We went to France to record it first and we used this studio that wasn`t very good and we spent two weeks there and `e only kept about two tracks, I think. Two backing tracks. And `e came back and recorded it all again at Trident. A very expensive job.
“It was just after that he joined up with Mott. I don`t know why.”
Trevor Bolder then made lengthy and abortive searches to find musicians to form a band of his own. None were suitable. One day he walked into Cube Records and met up with Barry Bethel, a MainMan organizations expatriate. Bethel recommended first a vocalist, Pete McDonald, from a Cube signed Geordie band, Bullfrog. Bolder got off on his Paul Rodgers-esque vocals. “And I decided to get together with Woody (Woodmansey) as well. And Woody thought it was a good idea `cause `e wasn`t doing anything at the time. So there was three of us and we needed a guitar player.”
Pete McDonald recommended yet another Cube artist, Dave Black, guitarist with a band called Kestrel. “Sort of McLaughlin, Yes type of thing. Different style totally from what I`ve been used to. A very fast guitar player. And we got `im down, got off on `is playing and we went from there. This is February of last year.”

Was there any period after you left Bowie where you wondered what the hell you were going to do next?
“Well, I automatically thought `What the `ell am I going to do`, you know. But I decided that there was only one thing to do and that was to form another band, you know. Get playing again. Because I `adn`t stopped playing just `cause I`d finished with David. That was all in the past.
“Even when I look back on it now it`s very hard to bring to mind all the times when I was onstage. It`s like I`ve been to the pictures and watched it at the pictures and you get like glimpses. I`d sort of forgotten what it was like playing with him, you know. It`s all sort of gone and I`m just like looking for summ`at new now.
“But I mean like you play with Dave and you play bass and you contribute to the albums with a few ideas but that`s about as far as it goes. You don`t get to write any songs.
“Whereas this way we`ve got more freedom. You can do what you want and enjoy it. Everybody gets to write and to put in their ideas and it feels more like a stable band whereas before it was a band and one man and you didn`t know what was going to happen next. And in the end, of course, we just bust up.”
Pete McDonald breaks his silence: “The writing potential`s great `cos we wrote that whole album in five days. It just seemed to click.”
And you expect the album to chart?
“Ye-ahhh,” says Trevor, just a little hesitantly,” If we get the right promotion and get the band onto a tour and let people see the band. It`s a very visual band. Very rock. We don`t just stand there.
“We`ve still got the Bowie costumes. We`ve still got the clothes. We can always wear those. But as compared to the Bowie thing it`s much more raw. Much more rock. There`s not as much theatre.”
Pete for the third time: “It`s a lot of fun as well. It`s all amusement. The serious bits don`t come into it too much. If somebody makes the wrong move they just get filled in by the others. No stars.”
“I think people take the business too seriously,” nods Trevor Bolder. “I mean, I did when I was with Dave. I used to think everything had to be so right. But you`ve got to go out there and have fun and that`s what we`re trying to do. To enjoy it for ourselves as much as the audience.”

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Those were the days – when Boots sold records! 

 
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may  not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Emmylou Harris, The Sexual language of rock (not a band!), Dave Burland, Johnny Clarke, Steve Harley, Kokomo, 10 cc, Lee Brilleaux.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 10, 1976

The journalist, Mr. Murray, is positive in his review of this album and later even wrote a book about Bowie that you will find here: http://charlesshaarmurray.com/books/
The album, in its original form, was only six songs but is still considered among Bowie`s finest among many of his fans. Despite its status and a #3 position on the US Billboard 200 chart and going to #5 on the UK Albums chart – it is only certified Gold in Canada, UK and the USA to date. Surely some mistake?
Enjoy!

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BOWIE

Don`t touch that dial

David Bowie: Station To Station (RCA)

By Charles Shaar Murray

“A sixty thousand word novel is one image corrected fifty-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine times” – Samuel R. Delaney

LONGACRE BOARD OF EXAMINATION INTERMEDIATE ROCK WRITING

Discuss David Bowie`s “Station To Station” from any perspective available. Up to two hours may be spent on this question. You may answer in note form if necessary.

1. It may be argued that there is a qualitative difference between music made out of necessity (i.e. to fulfil a contractual quota) and music made purely for the sake of enjoyment derived from making it.
David Bowie didn`t have to make this album.
After completing his work on the movie soundtrack of “The Man Who Fell To Earth”, he was supposed to take a holiday until the New Year (this one, putzo) when he was/is scheduled to go into rehearsal for the European tour and, presumably, the next U.S. tour.
However, he ended up writing a batch of songs and flying his band into L.A. from New York to go into the studio and make this; an “extra” bonus album, if you like. Kind of like “The One That Got Away” in reverse.

2. The album opens with the sound of mighty trains chuffing determinedly from speaker to speaker (must be a real trip in quad, Jim), heavily phased to suggest (“allude to” would be more precise) the ambience of the white noise you get when you twist a radio or TV dial attempting to local a channel. (Not to mention “station-to-station” (as opposed to “person-to-person”) long-distance `phone calls).

3. The title song, which opens the album, runs 10.08 (at least, that`s what it says on the label. I haven`t checked it). Bowie doesn`t make his vocal entry until the track is nearly three and a half minutes.

4. If Bowie was James Brown he could well have entitled the second, up-tempo half of “Station To Station” “Diamond Dogs `76”. The dominant sound of this album overdubs the claustrophobic guitar-strangling garage band chording of “Dogs” (plus, to a lesser extent, the howling, wrenching lead guitar of “The Man Who Sold The World”) over the itchy-disco rhythms of the “Young Americans” album, while Bowie`s vocals evoke the lugubrious, heavily melodramatic vibratoed almost-crooning of Scott Walker.

5. “Golden Years,” the album`s Big Single, is placed in the middle of the first side. The placing of an already-familiar single on an album of otherwise new material is always crucial, since it automatically provides a period of decompression, a relaxing of the concentration necessary to assimilate new music.
“Golden Years” is a masterstroke of a single (though not quite in the same exalted class as the masterly “Fame”) and it`s quite the most compact and direct piece on the album.
Elsewhere, Bowie lays out vocally for quite considerable lengths of time – particularly on the title track`s companion Marathon, “Stay”, which can be located over on the second side – leaving the band to cook uninterrupted.
His vocals are not only sparse, but mixed right down and mumbled into the bargain.
In the days when I was into lyric sheets (i.e. before I remembered that Dylan never provided a lyric sheet in his life, and realised that a crucial part of my enjoyment of “Horses” was down to listening to the words as part of  the record and comprehending/understanding/deciphering more of them with each listen instead of copping the whole thing off a dessicated cribsheets) I would have bitched about not being able to do the heavy lyrical analysis schtick straight off.
As it is, I find myself listening to the sounds of the music (and the music of the sounds, man, far out!) rather than even trying to make out the lyrics.
On a purely audio basis, therefore, “Station To Station” represents a solid triumph for Bowie as an organiser of music. Maybe if I had the sleeve I`d know whether it was a concept album (heh!) or not. Hope it isn`t, though.

6. Musically, the biggest surprise on the album is the intro to “TVC 15,” the first track on the second side.
It`s rolling bar-room piano (vaguely reminiscent of Climax`s “Loosen Up”) with Bowie copping the “Oh-woa-hoo-wo-ho” vocal intro from the Yardbirds` “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (the man is nothing if not eclectic) before settling into a tight but relaxed groove with a great chorus in which Bowie carols, “Transition/transmission”. It`s one of the craziest things I`ve heard in a long while.
Incidentally, I have no idea of what the title means. My theory (which is my own, etc., etc.) is that it refers to Channel 15 on Los Angeles TV, but on the other hand Joe Stevens suggests that it`s the register number of the video course that Bowie`s supposed to be taking at U.C.L.A., while Mick Farren opines that it`s a gearbox of some sort (alternate meaning to the “transmission” motif).
To coin a phrase, I await further enlightment.

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7. “Stay” features a lurching raunch guitar part performed, or so Mr. Kent informs me, by Ron Wood.
It confirms my belief that the standard of Mr. Wood`s playing is entirely determined by the company he keeps, a belief initially fostered by a comparison of his playing at Eric Clapton`s Rainbow Concert and on Rod Stewart`s sole albums (sublime) and on the vast majority of Faces manifestations (ridiculous), not to mention a brief earful of a recent Stones bootleg.
Here he gets plenty of room to smear funk all over the scenery, ably supported by Willie Weeks on bass (and presumably therefore Andy Newmark on drums).
Bowie`s vocal line, embellished by female back-up voices singing octaves, is quite absurdly effete – not to mention loopily wacky a la Sparks – but it seems almost logical when juxtaposed with Wood`s funk riffs.
Since I`m working from a blank sleeve with no info, I can give you no exciting tidbits about the world-famous musicians, engineers, producers, arrangers, derangers, freerangers and so forth who are doubtless embroiled in the proceedings.
I can hazard a guess, though, that Tony Visconti is present in some productorial capacity and Paul Buckmaster in an arrangerial ditto, whereas the other musicians are simply whoever was in Bowie`s road band at the time, with another Carlos Alomar or Earl Slick (or both) on guitars. The more Ronsonesque guitar leads on the album are certainly reminiscent of Slick`s work on the live album.

8. In addition to the above-mentioned songs, the album also includes two real croonaruskies on which Bowie – and this is Ian Mac`s idea, not mine, Dave ol` pal (heh heh) so don`t git mad – sounds totally drunk.
Dig the scenario – the bar`s closed, the proprietor`s sweeping the floor and stacking the chairs up on the tables with their legs in the air like abandoned mannequins, and this turd in the corner just won`t stop singing along to the backing track in his head.
More so than anywhere else on the album, Bowie discards the conventional tradition of rock singing (i.e. non-realistic, purporting to be a stylisation/abstraction?) of the way the singer “normally” speaks and by extension therefore is) in favour of an abstraction of the styles of the so-called “Balladeers”.
Both these songs are placed at the end of their respective sides; “Word On A Wing” comes at the end of side one, while “Wild Is The Wind” ends side two.
The latter was written by Toimkin and Washington (the only non-Bowie song); Tiomkin is presumably Dimitri of the Ilk, and is therefore, equally presumably, a theme-from-the-movie-of-the-same-name.

9. The main lyrical motif of the title song is “It`s too late (to be grateful)/It`s too late (to be hateful)”.

10. “Station to Station” is a great dance album.
It`s funk on the edge, the almost claustrophobic rhythms of “Fame” diffused through the tortured guitars of Ziggy`s memory tapes, plus that new vocal style, simultaneously ugly and mesmeric.

11. Let`s hear it for the title guy in the baggy suit.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits  – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Cat Stevens, Patti Smith, Grateful Dead, Albertos y Lost Trios, Bob Dylan, 10cc, Dion, The Great British Music Festival.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie from New Musical Express, October 25, 1975

This one points the finger on a well-known phenomenon; the love that critics have for the latest fad. It is still a problem today. One of the reasons that I love rock is that it is music that doesn`t follow any trends. Rock is rock – whatever the year and whatever is the latest style of music in fashion among radio DJs. Apart from maybe a short period in the 80s, rock musicians didn`t play rock to conquer the single lists. Rock is a universe of feelings and expressions that a lot of people might like if they got the chance to listen to it. Rock is eternal. I think the one thing that radio programmers totally don`t understand, is that there are several generations and millions of people out there that never get to hear their favourite music on the radio. Instead, they find other outlets, specialised radio channels playing “their” kind of music, concerts and YouTube. Some of us still buy records on vinyl and CD. And we are not only people aged 45+, there are lots of people in the younger generations continuing this great tradition of listening to rock. Eternal music like Bowie`s music – not the latest nursery rhyme appealing to 16-year old girls. Rant over!

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Pssst! Wanna know a secret?

By Bob Edmands

Forget about the fact that his six-year-old “Space Oddity” is back in the NME Charts for the third time round, do you wanna know a secret about David Bowie? A real juicy, lip-smacking, all-revealing, red-hot chunk of inside info?
You were intrigued when Bowie revealed he was AC/DC, right?
Wait till you hear this. This`ll knock ya over. Gather round.
The thing is: Bowie`s just had a number one single in the States. With “Fame”. You know that soul riff tucked unobtrusively at the back end of the “Young Americans” album, partly attributed to John Lennon? The same.
Okay, so you can read the Cashbox charts for yourself, wise guy.
But if it ain`t a secret, it`s the next best thing.
Bowie knows about it. America knows about it. But if the British rock establishment, the DJs and the rock press, know about it, they`re not exactly shooting their mouths off.

How else do you explain the widespread indifference towards Bowie`s success? The fact that RCA need to reissue a six-year-old single to get positive chart action in the UK?
Not to mention ignorance of the calibre found in the Sunday Times guide to rock currently on offer in their colour supplement.
Quote from same: “Once instrumental in reactivating the ailing careers of demi-gods (sic) Lou Reed and Iggy Stooge, Bowie now finds himself paradoxically in decline”.
If a number one single in the States is decline, then that certainly is paradoxical.
Alright, so you don`t expect a quality Sunday to be a thousand per cent accurate with ephemera like rock music. But what about yer actual rock press?
When Pete Wingfield`s “Eighteen With A Bullet” was indeed 18 with a bullet in the soul chart, this fact was duly recorded. But what about Bowie? No less remarkably, “Fame” was also on the soul chart. At the time of writing, it moved from 20 to 18.

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It used to be that you couldn`t open a British rock paper without Bowie looming large.
Thousand of words of interviews, reviews, analysis, gossip, and abuse poured hot from the presses every week. Quite apart from crotch shots of the Bowie hot pants and the like.
Those days, it was saturation coverage at its wettest. And Bowie was a smaller star, then, too.
So, how come the romance is over?
The superficial answer is simple, if dumb.
Bowie`s in America, see. And the British DJs and the British rock journalists, they`re – well – they`re in Britain.
Get me? Which means that essential rapport is no longer there. See?
In other words, outta sight, outta mind, outta favour. Rock fans are as fickle and parochial as teenyboppers.
Think back: what was the pop music story that Fleet Street covered the week Bowie went to number one in the States? Yep, the Rollers being ignored in New York.
The logic is this: The Rollers are what`s happening in the UK now. Bowie is over the hill in Britain, and regardless of what he`s doing in the States, he`s no longer news.
And, as much as the rock press and the DJs pay lip-service to American music values, that logic applies with them, too.

But this explanation is not entirely adequate.
UK rock acts with American chart action usually gain in prestige back home; success there means more press coverage and airtime and sales here, Robin Trower and the Average White Band being recent cases in point.
It can hardly be claimed that Bowie`s success in the States took people by surprise. “Aladdin Sane” was Top 20 there. So was “Diamond Dogs”. “Ziggy Stardust” has sold steadily enough to go gold. The “Young Americans” album has been on the charts 30 weeks. That went gold, two months ago.
So is there another reason why Bowie is getting an unprecedented cold shoulder at home?
No doubt the hordes of Bowie sycophants felt betrayed when he departed to the States. He was their boy. The creation of their reviews and airplays, their labours of love at the typewriter and the turntable. So screw him if he was jilting them.
One record company theorist put it this way: “There was no longer any point in sucking up, with no one here to suck.”
Was it merely coincidence that the really bad reviews of Bowie product began with his departure to the colonies?
(This writer wasn`t overfond of Bowie in the first place. But, in all honesty, “Bowie Live” sounds like one of the raunchiest live sets since “Get Yer Ya-Yas Out”, and “Young Americans” an even more perfect marriage of rock and soul than the Average Whites).
It`ll be interesting to see the reaction if, say, Bowie tours here next year with his hot new band, his hot new product, and his hot new movie.
All his artistic and career ambitions will have been fulfilled.
Will the prayer mats be dusted off, ready for the lapsed faithful to prostrate themselves again?
You betcha.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Black Sabbath, Elton John, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Roxy Music, I Roy, Steve Hackett, Milt Jackson, Mason, Larry Coryell.

This edition is sold!

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie from New Musical Express, October 18, 1975

A really strange one this. Should it have been in print at all? Is this something that people needed to know? NME thought so, but I am unsure. In Norway the Press have made some ethcial rules for themselves called the “Exercise Caution – Placard”. It contains a set of rules that journalists are obliged to follow. The placards last words are written in uppercase letters: “WORDS AND IMAGES ARE POWERFUL WEAPONS. DO NOT ABUSE THEM!”
I don`t know if something like this exists in other countries, but it certainly should. The written word can be incredibly powerful, and sometimes people may have to be protected from themselves (But not in a oppressive regime kind of way). This one is out there already, and that`s why I chose to print it on my blog. The story told between the lines may be of interest to Bowie fans.

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A Mother`s Anguish

David never comes to see me

David Bowie`s mum pours her heart out to Charles Shaar Murray

Mrs. Jones lives in a fairly pleasant block of flats on one of those wide, tree-dotted Beckenham streets that seem to display examples of every conceivable variety of 20th century British tack architecture.
Her flat is a curious mixture of the commonplace – i.e. the kind of stuff that you`d expect to find in the home of a middle-aged lady living alone – and the unexpected. Like the stack of David Bowie albums over by the TV set mixed in with the movie soundtracks and the better-known classics, the huge, garish Bogart poster over the Bahaus table, the display of gold discs propped face-backwards against the wall in the hall, the family-size black and white print circa “Space Oddity” David Bowie ranged dead centre on the living room wall, the painting of Bowie-as-Ziggy in the corner.
Mrs. Jones is David Bowie`s mother.
She phoned up the NME office a week or two after our Bowie/Hitler cover story, and said that she thought that her boy was “a terrible hypocrite” and that she wanted to do an interview and elaborate on same.
Which is weird in the extreme. I mean, I`m entering my sixth year of writing-about-rock-for-fun-and-profit and one thing I`d never encountered before was the act`s parent ringing up to do some vicarious scolding of their famous prodigy. The closest parallel was the infamous affair of John Lennon`s dad back in `63.

Halfway up the stairs and Mrs. Jones is waiting in the doorway. Paul McCartney would probably describe her as a sort of mum kind of thing. She`s wearing a sleeveless floral dress and sensible shoes, and around the mouth and eyes she looks very much like Mr. Bowie.
“The only thing that a person over sixty can say to me,” Lenny Bruce once said, “is `Have you had enough to eat`?” In short order, I`m supplied with a glass of lemonade and an Embassy and the brass tacks are gotten down to.
What had initially aroused her ire was Bowie`s spiel about how morals had become so disgusting and how it was time for a bit of good ol` fashioned fascism etc. etc.
“But he changes so, doesn`t he? He`s changing his views about everything all the time. He`s like a chameleon. There`ll never be a dictatorship here, and why he says he`d want one I don`t know.”
Uppermost on her mind, though, is her own particular situation. “What about his mother?” she asks rhetorically. “I`ve been widowed five years, and at the beginning of my widowhood he was very good to me. This” – she gestures round the flat – “is my property, but he furnished it for me…”
Which figures. The furniture definitely bears the stamp of Bowie`s taste circa `71.
“… and then he got the contract with that awful man DeFries.”
Cue dramatic background music.

“Then he seemed to change. I`m a very sensitive person – in fact I`m oversensitive – and I get upset very easily. If it`s anything to do with David, it breaks my heart. We sent him to boarding school, he`s had a home always, he was always able to go to his father for everything… and since he went to America I`ve only had one phone call from him, and that was last Christmas. Mind you, he was very good. He sent me a mink coat, something I`ve never had before. I`ll show it to you. I was really chuffed with it, and then I thought, it`s lovely to have a mink coat, but where can I go to wear it? I`ve got no money in my pocket. I`m an old-age pensioner. I`m living on £11.50 a week.
“David said in a paper – I think it was the Sunday Mirror – that he left home when he was 15. That`s a lie. He was at home until his father died five years ago. His father supported him financially. He and his father were like THAT, but he didn`t get on so well with me because I`m a very erratic person.
“I can`t see both sides of an issue; I can only see one side.”
It begins to add up. Bowie is the possessor of what we might politely describe as a somewhat fluid personality, a character trait that he would seem to have inherited from his mother, and it was this aspect of him that made him tend to gravitate towards his late father, a solid and dependable man, and on the death of his father to Tony DeFries, who, despite his own comparative youth, emitted a decidedly patriarchal aura.
Over to you Sigmund.

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Mrs. Jones produces a sheaf of letters from Tony DeFries, originating out of MainMans`s New York office, all of which coldly interrogate her for production of receipts and a precise accounting of her expenditure as a pre-requisite for the payment of any of her bills.
“DeFries rang me up one day and said, `You must understand that David is under no legal obligation to finance you.`
And then he said, “Why don`t you go out to work? My mother did.”
“Don`t think,” she says, “that I`m a pathetic mother. I never have been. My husband and I lived for David. We approved of his work. My husband said to me, `Love, if we don`t let David go into this business he`ll be frustrated for the rest of his life.` I was frustrated. I would have loved to have been a singer. My own father was a musician – he used to play the clarinet. This is where David gets it from. My husband and I encouraged him right from the very start, and when his father died he said to me, `Mum, don`t worry. I`ll always look after you.` And he did until Mr. DeFries came along.
“I saw Angela in May, and I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition with her. She has always been very kind to me and I think very differently of her than I did at the beginning.
“When I lost my husband I lost my prop. I lost somebody who understood me, someone who had a lot of tolerance. He always used to say to me, `Don`t worry about David, love, he`s going to get on and he knows what he`s doing.` I don`t bear David any malice. I can`t bear him any malice because I love him too much. He was such a dear little boy.
“So intelligent.

“When he was at Bromley Technical College he started getting rebellious. He seemed to resent it if I said anything to him, and it hurt me because I`m so sensitive. I used to burst into tears. If anybody mentions David I cry. I`ve got all his records and I play them and I sit here howling my eyes out.
“Terry (David`s half-brother) is such a loveable chap. He`s so loyal to me, and that`s what I want David to be. To show a little care and sympathy.”
It all comes pouring out. I don`t think Mrs. Jones` motive in getting in touch with the NME was to get any mileage out of pillorying Bowie in public or to pull any sensationalist numbers. She just seemed to want to talk to someone – anyone – and get it all off her chest.
Really, it`s an action replay of “She`s Leaving Home” – the classic syndrome of what happens when a kid grows up in the early 60`s and turns into something that the parent(s) just can`t understand, and when a cultural mutation of that kind takes place, the old `we gave up the best years of our lives for you / sacrificed everything / gave you everything you ever wanted` bit just doesn`t cut any ice whatsoever. Because that just ain`t the point, and it never was.

Part of Bowie`s progress over the last few years has been dependent on the systematic progressive rejection of his past, the discarding of his old skin, so to speak. So it goes, as Mr. Vonnegut would have it.
As time passes, Mrs. Jones` anguish at her plight begins to dissolve, eroded by motherly pride in her son. She hauls out his school photographs and affectionately recounts his teenage anecdotes, as if they`d happened just last week, as if David Bowie was still that person. “I bought this record” (the Decca reissue of “Images”) “even though it was all old songs, because it had such a nice picture of him on the cover. One of my neighbours said to me, `You must be in love with him.` Of course I`m not. I love him because he`s my son.”
As photographer Kate Simon and I prepared to leave, she impulsively says to Kate, “May I kiss you goodbye?” and hugs her. As we say our goodbyes outside, she turns back to us.
“I`d like to thank you both for coming to see me. So few people ever do.
“I must be the loneliest person on the street.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: The Who, Eric Clapton, The Tubes, Blue Oyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, Bert Jansch, Van McCoy, Budgie, Gerry Johnson.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

 

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie from New Musical Express, August 23, 1975

David Bowie was a great loss for everyone enjoying his creative output. It makes it even more important to preserve those interviews that he made, to share among the current and future fans of his. Here is another contribution from me to the future of humanity!

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DICTATORSHIP

The Next Step?

From the set of “The Man Who Fell To Earth” David Bowie peers into our future – and sees nothing to laugh at…

Interview: Anthony O`Grady
Pics: David James

“WE THINK we’ve got an audience,” says the spokesperson in the Bowie suite. “We’re pretty sure the operator will be listening in..”
“This is the Los Angeles operator… we think we have a connection and we will not… repeat… not be listening…”
“They always say that,” says the Bowie person.
Finally…
“A big hullo to all of you people over there from all of me over here. What’s happening?” Eeeeek! It’s Dah-aaaaah-veeeed!
And what’s happening is his voice keeps fading into blurry white noise. (Telephone operators bootlegging the conversation?) As always, he speaks with an accentless clipped tone, very English but very anonymous all at the same time. The sort of voice that goes with whatever personality its owner is wearing at the time. Ziggy Stardust to Diamond Dog to Flame haired Androgynous Dandy. But it’s weird and quite ghostly when you hear it without seeing the visual effect. What you become aware of, more than anything else, is the man’s Scarlet Pimpernel-like intelligence. They seek him here, they seek him there…
For Bowie is someone who speaks out strongly, yet won’t stay pinned down to any opinion. Or indeed lifestyle. And of late his lifestyles have undergone startling changes.

Early in the year, there was the “Young Americans” album which confirmed his flirtation with American soul; it sure was a change from the surrealistic R & B of the previous “Diamond Dogs”, anyway. About the same time as “Young Americans”, he upped and left longtime manager Tony De Fries. But soon afterwards there were rumours he was planning a concert tour of Brazil. No Brazil. But he did spend some time recording Detroit street punk artiste, lggy Pop (the midget who had inspired the Bowie song, “Jean Genie”). And the next word on Bowie was he was huddled in a room drawing pentangles, burning candles, chanting spells. And then he started work on a film “The Man Who Fell To Earth”.
Definitely it was a rapid-change program.
MEANWHILE… back at the telephone receiver…
David why don’t we start talking about the “Young Americans” album?
“OK. Go Ahead.”
Um… well … the “Young Americans” track, what’s the story behind that one?
“No story. Just young Americans. It’s about a newly-wed couple who don’t know if they really like each other. Well, they do, but they don’t know if they do or don’t. It’s a bit of a predicament.

“The next track ‘Win’ was a ‘Get up off your backside’ sort of song really – a mild, precautionary sort of morality song. It was written about an impression left on me by people who don’t work very hard, or do anything much, or think very hard – like don’t blame me ’cause I’m in the habit of working hard.
“You know, it’s easy – all you got to do is win.”
The voice fades into white noise, then comes back.
“‘Fascination’? … there’s not much I can say really, it’s pretty self-explanatory. . .” And Bowie fades away … pauses … comes back. “Like over here, it’s bright young Americans, you know, the lilting phrase before the crashing crescendo. In England it’s a dirge – the days are all grey over there. It’s a bit worrying.
“Like that uncertainty stretches from where I am to where you are. There’s literally no economic confidence in any one nation in the world. There’s not one confident central source anywhere on this whole damn planet.
“It makes you want to shoot yourself – it’s very demoralising. I think we should maybe strengthen up a bit.
“I think the morals should be straightened up for a start. They’re disgusting. This whole particular period of civilisation … it’s not even decadent. We’ve never had true decadence yet. It borders on Philistine, really.

“If you, like me, believe the current morality… or the signals for each morality really… are pushed by an established power or media… well, it’s really just another way of suppressing or ridiculing the working man, so he has less to look up to in his own life.
“I mean, to put on pornographic movies in a truly free society is one thing; to put on pornographic movies in America is very dangerous because it intimidates and ridicules the average family man. He watches himself being portrayed six inches tall on TV every night, and he wakes up the next morning and he feels six inches tall, he thinks he is six inches tall…
“There’s a continual dirge of music on radio. I like music, but … conversation on radio is totally missing, there’s no gambit no motivation on the radio any more. It used to happen some years ago on FM radio but it’s totally lacking now. With the FM stations in America, if they don’t start slipping into a Top 40 format, they go broke, and are then bought by the Church. I think over 45% of the older FM stations are now owned by the church or religious organisations.
“It’s absolutely incredible the way media is used over here. With all it’s potential power and the vast implications of what could happen, it is confounding. It just repads what is padded. You have absolutely no feedback in America as to what the real situation is by listening to TV, radio, reading newspapers.
“And unfortunately, at this moment, listening to music as well. It’s a pretty sorry state.”

This is somewhat stunning from a man who has manipulated the media significantly himself.
Like many years ago, there was his coy admission of bi-sexuality that set English newspapers screaming – a story by the way that probably had little basis – Bowie has certainly denied any bi-sexual leanings since.
Then there was his prediction that a major rock star, maybe himself, would certainly die on stage within the next few years. And yet, after a year’s retirement from stage performances he returned with a wilder more frantic act yet. Scalding audiences into a frenzy.
And now, David The Guardian of Morality. One thing for sure – or rather – four or five things for sure – Bowie is a rapid change chameleon. It’s always been part of his appeal. The new Bowie though is more than a little startling. It’s almost a Saul/St. Paul type change…
“I just want to do some things I want to do,” he says. “I’ve recently gone through some pretty interesting changes” (He ain’t kidding).
“I’d like to do something that’s actively concerned with trying to clear up the mess. I have an idea, but I’d rather do it than say it. But as it is, the situation’s just nonsensical, it goes round in never decreasing circles. Rock and roll certainly hasn’t fulfilled its original promise.
“Like the original aim of Rock and Roll when it first came out was to establish an alternative media speak voice for people who had neither the power nor advantage to infiltrate any other media or carry any weight and cornily enough, people really needed Rock and Roll.

“And what we said was that we were only using Rock and Roll to express our vehement arguments against the conditions we find ourselves in, and we promise that we will do something to change the world from how it was. We will use Rock and Roll as a springboard.
“But it’s just become one more whirling deity, right? Going round that never-decreasing circle. And Rock and Roll is dead.”
Does he really believe that?
“Absolutely. It’s a toothless old woman. It’s really embarrassing.”
So what’s the next step?
“Dictatorship,” says Bowie. “There will be a political figure in the not too distant future who’ll sweep this part of the world like early Rock and Roll did.
“You probably hope I’m not right. But I am. My predictions are very accurate … always.”
Actually, Jean Dixon, the religious clairvoyant who predicted John F. Kennedy’s and Robert Kennedy’s assassinations – has predicted very much the same thing. Only thing is, Jean’s political figure rises in the East and presents a grave threat to Western democracy.
On the other hand, Jean Dixon also foretold Nixon’s Watergate troubles, but prophesied Tricky Dick would squirm through OK.
But back to Rent-An-Apocalypse…

“You’ve got to have an extreme right front come up and sweep everything off its feet and tidy everything up. Then you can get a new form of liberalism.
“There’s some form of ghost-force liberalism permeating the air in America, but it’s got to go, because it’s got no foundation at all, apart from a set of laws that were established way back in the bloody 50`s and early 60`s and have no bearing at all in the 70`s. (The Supreme Court in America was at its most liberal in the late 50`s, early 60`s.)
“So the best thing that can happen is for an extreme right Government to come. It’ll do something positive at least to the cause commotion in people and they’ll either accept the dictatorship or get rid of it.
“It’s like a kaleidoscope,” says Bowie. “No matter how many little colours you put in it, that kaleidoscope will make those colours have a pattern … and that’s what happens with TV – it doesn’t matter who puts what in the TV, by the end of the year there’s a whole format that the TV put together. The TV puts over its own plan.
“Who says the space people have got no eyes? You have – you’ve got one in every living room in the world. That’s theoretical of course…”
Not to mention very disassociated… bordering on dislocation.

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On the subject of Bowie’s own chameleon character…
“Well, I never had much luck telling people I was an actor, so I let everyone else figure it out. I don’t really want to go into any of that. It’s been chewed around and boiled around, I mean a man does what he has to do.
“Whatever thing I was doing at the time, I adopted a character for it. I’ve said that so many times now, I’m getting used to trotting it out. I might look like Zsa Zsa Gabor next month, or Marlon Brando, you never can tell, ’cause I don’t know what I will feel like then.
“If anything maybe I’ve helped establish that Rock and Roll is a pose. My statement is very pointed – except it’s very ambiguous. My statement is `Rock and Roll is walking all over everybody'”
Really?
“Yes, really. Like, I tried to do a little stretch of how it feels musically in this country, which is sort of … the relentless plastic soul, basically. That’s what the last album was.”
Would you repeat that?
“What?” says David. “The relentless plastic soul? But, Christ, that’s what decadence is … talking about one’s album. Who needs to hear another bloody artist talking about another album. Come on!…”
But it is a business. This never decreasing circle that is Rock and Roll. And talking about your albums helps sell them.

“I know,” says Bowie. “And I don’t help at all, I’m afraid. I’m not the most manageable artist in the world.”
Ex-manager Tony De Fries agrees, in case you’re wondering.
“Anyway,” continues Bowie, “I think what we’ve talked about is more interesting quite honestly, and I think it’s more interesting to you.”
That`s true.
“Actually, I want to say a few things on the album.
“Like, ‘Right’ is putting a positive drone over. People forget what the sound of Man’s instinct is – it’s a drone, a mantra. And people, say: ‘Why are so many things popular that just drone on and on’. But that’s the point really. It reaches a particular vibration, not necessarily a musical level.
“And that’s what ‘Right’ is…
“Oh, alright … let’s talk about the rest of the album. Very decadent this is [laughs]. ‘Somebody Up There Likes Me’ is a ‘Watch out mate, Hitler’s on his way back’… it’s your Rock and Roll sociological bit.
“And ‘Across The Universe’, which was a flower power sort of thing John Lennon wrote. I always thought it was fabulous, but very watery in the original, and I hammered the hell out of it. Not many people like it. I like it a lot and I think I sing very well at end of it.
“People say I used John Lennon on the track … but let me tell you … no one uses John Lennon. John just came and played on it. He was lovely.

“‘Can You Hear Me’ was written for somebody but I’m not telling you who it is. That is a real love song. I kid you not. And the end of the thing is ‘Fame’ which was more or less sung about what we’re doing now.”
Bowie seems less than bubbly about his latest collection. He is even less so about the chances of himself performing again.
“Frankly, I’ve just started this film, and after that, I’m going to do some directing. Unless I see a particular reason for going out on stage and getting involved in another dramatis personae there, then I won’t bother. It has to serve a constructive purpose.”
Ah yes, the movie, “The Man Who Fell To Earth”…
“Yeah, that’s right, it’s being made by Nick Roeg. (He did `Performance` and a film called `Don’t Look Now`.) This film’s about Howard Hughes I think. Well, it might be, might not be. I play the starring role. How about that for a piece. Isn’t he a jammy bugger that Bowie. I don’t know… in the business five minutes and he’s taking work away from veterans!”
Bowie’s been in the acting business a few years longer than five minutes. What happened about the role Liz Taylor wanted to use him for?
“No way, that was a rotten film she wanted me to do. And a rotten part. She’s finding out about it now. She’s in Russia stuck out there. The thing she’s in is called `Bluebird`, a very dry, high French fairytale with nothing to say. It`s being directed by a wonderful director.
“But the whole film stinks and I turned it down.”

Has Bowie seen “Tommy”?
“No I haven’t.”
Does he intend to?
“No I don’t.”
Really?
“Yeah. I don’t like Rock and Roll very much.”
Well what do you think of Ken Russell as a director?
“I don’t like him at all. He’s… no we’d better skip that.”
One of the things Bowie may do after “The Man Who Fell” is to produce-direct himself in an original screen play.
“I’ve done nine screen plays over the past year. I spend so much time on that damn road, and I do things like write films. I’ve got a lot to get on with. Well, I have, but I don’t know which one to do.
“I’ll probably do the one I wrote for myself and lggy Pop and Joan Stanton. I haven’t even got a title for it yet and I don’t really want to go into the story. But it’s very violent and depressing, it’s not gonna be a happy film. It’ll probably bomb miserably, I’m sure.
“I want to make it in black and white to boot. I like films made before the ’30`s – they seemed to have a lot more genuine expression.”

It could have continued for hours. The operators could have bootlegged a lot longer and Bowie himself was warmed up and running nicely. However…
“Hey,” says Bowie cheerfully. “They’re taking me away – truncheons and tommy guns – and they’re saying ‘Come with us, David’. I’ll speak to you next time I’ve got an album or something else – and we’ll talk about something else…”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Les Perrin, Robin Trower, Guide to Reading Festival, Judy Collins, Third World, Max Merritt.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.