David Bowie

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.

ARTICLE ABOUT David Bowie FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, February 22, 1975

This article was printed just before the release of Bowie`s ninth studio album called “Young Americans”. It was an album where he let his influence from soul music come to the fore. It was also Bowie’s first time working with guitarist Carlos Alomar, leading to a working relationship spanning more than 30 years.
Kind of a weird interview this one – I wonder if “substances” was involved?

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Flying saucers, Hitler, and David Bowie

World problems solved in U.S. hotel room

By Bruno Stein

“HAVE YOU got any metal in your body” asked the flying saucer man.
“Yeah, I`ve got one pin,” said David Bowie.
Well, it turned out David was in luck then. If he went to a little town in Missouri at a certain time, he would be able to see in a seemingly empty field a fully-equipped flying saucer repair shop at work.
It was one of those fascinating things you learn at a Bowie soiree. This evening the gathering was rather intimate. There was Corinne, David`s charming personal secretary, who ducked out early due to exhaustion (although another participant gossiped that she had someone interesting waiting for her in her hotel room).
There was a tired newspaper reporter trying to get a question in edgewise now and then. There was Ava Cherry, the effervescent, razor-thin, husky-voiced black singer and dancer with white bleached hair who was part of David`s backup vocal group on his “soul” tour. There were three more young black ladies, members of Ava`s “gang” when she was growing up, whom she invited over now that she was back in her hometown for a night.

There was a nice young roadie who had just resigned from David`s crew for some mysterious reason, which David wanted to find out about. The roadie had brought along two local friends, a guy and girl, and the guy was the flying saucer man, who had acually seen UFOs, both in flight and on the ground.
And, of course, there was Mr. Bowie himself, somewhat tired from the energetic performance he had given to a packed audience less than an hour before. He looked relaxed in a loose-fitting, uncolourful overall outfit, and although his eyes seemed weary and his voice was a bit hoarse, as the conversation twisted and turned among the subjects of music, extraterrestials and political conspiracies, he gradually grew animated and energetic, jumping up to make a point, stalking around the hotel suite while listening to someone else, dancing while seated on a chair and singing along as he played tapes of his forthcoming soul album.
“I used to work for two guys who put out a UFO magazine in England,” he told the flying saucer man. “About six years ago. And I made sightings six, seven times a night for about a year, when I was in the observatory.

“We had regular cruises that came over. We knew the 6.15 was coming in and would meet up with another one. And they would be stationary for about half an hour, and then after verifying what they`d been doing that day, they`d shoot off.
“But, I mean, it`s what you do with the information. We never used to tell anybody. It was beautifully dissipated when it got to the media. Media control is still based in the main on cultural manipulation. It`s just so easy to do. When you set up one set of objectives toward the public and you`ve given them a certain definition for each code word, you hit them with the various code words and they`re not going to believe anything if you don`t want them to.
“That`s how the Mayans were ruling South America thousands of years ago. That`s what the media is. That`s how it works. The Mayan calendar: they could get the crowds to go out and crucify somebody merely by giving them a certain definition, two or three words, primed in terms such that they could tell what day the people would react and how they would react…I sound like a subversive.”
The reporter protested that he knew the media all too well and they weren`t organised enough to carry off any kind of conspiracy or manipulation.

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“It`s seemingly disorganised,” replied David.
“It`s not disorganised, because I`ve been in the media as well. I used to be a visualizer for an advertising agency, and I know exactly what – I mean the advertising agencies that sell us, they are killers, man. Those guys, they can sell anybody anything. And not just products. If you think agencies are just out to sell products, you`re naive. They`re powerful for other reasons. A lot of those agencies are responsible for a lot of things they shouldn`t be responsible for. They`re dealing with lives, those ad agencies.”
Somehow to make a point about how humans are all manipulated, David brought up Hitler`s Germany and said that Hitler, too, was controlled. He wasn`t really the man in charge. The reporter asked how was that possible when Hitler`s personal military mismanagement probably cost the Germans the war.
“Oh he was a terrible military strategist,” said David, “the world`s worst, but his overall objective was very good, and he was a marvellous morale booster. I mean, he was a perfect figurehead. And I`m sure that he was just part of it, that he was used…
He was a nut and everybody knew he was a nut. They`re not gonna let him run the country.”

But what about losing the war, asked the reporter. Was that part of the plan too?
“No, that`s not what I said,” said David, exasperated. “I said I don`t believe that he was the dictatorial, omnipotent leader that he`s been taken for.”
At this point, the flying saucer man broke in to try and help put things in perspective. “I think that you have to look at it as the same thing as your band,” he said to David. “You`ll sing, out of a zillion notes, you`ll sing X amount. But you are the figurehead of the band. You`re the main man. Hitler was the main man of his entourage.”
David seemed somewhat taken aback at being put in the same category as Hitler. “Yes…well, I`m the leader, the apparent organiser and whatnot, but the product which takes place is a contributed product, and responsibility lies with the whole lot, and the direction is on many shoulders.”
“The responsibility lies in you,” maintained the flying saucer man, sounding like a Nuremberg prosecutor.
“No it doesn`t,” David protested. “Once you get out there and start working actively, the responsibility`s on everybody`s shoulders.”
“Yes, but with the public – ” began the saucer man.

“Exactly!” interrupted David. “That`s what I`m saying, man. It works like Hitler but the actual effect was produced by a number of people, all working their own strategies of where it was going to go.”
At this point the tension suddenly broke. David and everyone in the room broke into laughter at the seriousness with which a rock and roll star and some acquaintances of one evening were presuming to figure out the way the world ran. Everyone lightened up, and David put on tapes of the new album on an elaborate studio tape deck that RCA had delivered to his suite. Ava Cherry sang her parts, and David sang his, along with the tape, which was full of exciting soul type music, taking David a step farther in the direction he started on the “David Live” album.
After listening to four numbers, Ava and her girlfriends persuaded David to leave with them. Ava knew a millionaire who lived not far away in a modernistic mansion full of strange delights. David gulped down another cup of coffee, with cream and sugar, put on a striking green coat – it looked like mohair – and followed them out of the suite.
It was 2.30 a.m., and the sluggish night crew of the small but elegant hotel barely looked up as the red-haired rock star and four giggling black girls made their way through the lobby to the waiting limousine.

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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: Status Quo, Bryan Ferry, Todd Rundgren, Alan Freeman, Robin Trower, Elton John, Larry Coryell, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Kursaal Flyers.

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 around or upwards of 20 $ (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, November 16, 1974

Here it is, finally another article from those golden days. Have you missed me? Well, sometimes paid work must take presedence over this little hobby of mine. Today you get an article from one of Bowie`s adventures in America. They were still a little confused over yet another change of direction for him. If they only knew what we know now!
See you later, and enjoy!

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Mr. Bowie has left the theatre

Report: Mick Farren

And yes, we KNOW we`ve used that headline before – but what else could we call it? Funky Dory? The Man Who Souled The World? Just how corny d`you think we can GET?

New York`s Radio City music hall, with its elaborate art deco Thirties interior, must be the ideal place to present a David Bowie show. Unfortunately the decor wasn`t enough to hold up the first two shows.
All reports seemed to agree that the first early stagings in the five night stint were on the abject side of rotten. On the Sunday night, however, Bowie finally pulled it together and staged one of the finest live rock spectaculars that New York has been treated to in years.
In many ways New York is Bowie`s city. It lends itself to the kind of social orchestration at which he really excels.

As early as “Hunky Dory” days, he was courting the approval of the established Gotham Art Gang who have their epi-centre atWarhol`s Union Square Factory.
Later, when his phenomenon burned bright in the sky, New York was, above all, the city where his style and image became the blueprints for the kids who roam the hothouse nightlife of Max`s or the 82 club. Bowie was the mother code for their experiments in the transexual exhibitionism that has never been so successfully exploited by the likes of The New York Dolls and Wayne County.
Of course, Bowie has had an effect on kids throughout all of “Western Civilisation” where rock-and-roll has seeped in, but it`s been nowhere more intense than in New York City.

Despite the adverse reactions to the first Radio City concerts, the effect was still as strong as ever. The crazies in the 82 might vehemently put down the Wednesday-night show, but they still felt constrained to disguise themselves in costumes from various stages of Bowie`s development.
A couple of bad shows weren`t enough to stop the parade of look-alikes and oddities putting on their finery and hitting the the street because David was in town. Hot Tramp was still the signal in the afterhours booze-and-disco joints for the high spots in perverse juvenile display, and the kids from the suburbs – and even the small upstate towns – painted sinister bat-wings across their cheeks, climbed into their glowing spacesuits and Busby Berkley outfits, and headed downtown.
The show they got, however – the experiment that reached its peak on Sunday night at Radio City Musical Hall – showed them a David Bowie who was very different from any previous incarnations.
If you have to find a frame of reference for this new-look Bowie, the closest thing to it would be the James Brown Show, though that`s hardly an adequate description.

The performance opened with the predominantly black thirteen-piece Mike Garson Band, including six back-up singers and guitarist Earl Slick from the previous tour.
They do a swift, choreographed sub-Stevie Wonder, bless-all-the-people-and-don`t-forget-the-children act for fifteen minutes. An intermission follows, and then the slow moody curtain opens with the Garson squad doing a funky, almost “Talkin Book”-style, “Diamond Dogs”.
Finally The Man comes out.
Bowie is a strange combination of Funk, Katherine Hepburn, Dickensian Tweed dyke, and the young Elvis Presley in a blue workshirt, loosely knotted tie and ultra-short, tight tweed jacket.
He swaggers across the stage swinging a W. C. Fields walking-stick. Moves like a cross between Fred Astaire and James Brown.
The phenomenon of David Bowie fronting what amounts to an avant-garde soul show is a strange thing to watch.
It`s also a joy.

David Bowie is, in essence, totally unoriginal. He constantly borrows, steals and adapts.
This is particularly noticeable in his visual presentation. He`s almost like an animated flick-book, moving fluidly from one pose to the next.
The creativity lies in the outrageous juxtapositioning. One moment he`ll hit a bent knee, guitar slung across his back, pointing finger, total reproduction of a classic Elvis Presley photograph – the next he`s instantly switched to the brave little girl, a la Judy Garland. It`s almost uncanny how he can tread such a dangerous path with so much expertise.
The posters out for this tour proclaim the message “David Bowie in a Complete New Show”.
In some respect, the completely new thing about the show is the source Bowie is now borrowing from. He`s discovered the delights of being part of a funky-but-get-down-rock-and-roll band. Of course, it`s progressive stuff, but the British kids` favourite soul mannerisms are all there.

He struts the stage like Otis Redding. He combines with the vocal unit to wring the maximum out of every song.
To the consternation of the loyal and true fans, a few of whom came back to the hotel to show the security guys their 8,000 press clips of their David, the songs do tend to get mangled out of recognition.
Imagine “1984” done in the style of The Temptations, or “Rock `n` Roll Suicide” turned into a soul sobber on the scale of “I`ve Been Loving You Too Long”. The prospect is at once awesome and objectionable. It depends on the conservatism in your heart.
The whole thing has the streamlined professionalism of a chitlin` circuit soul review.
The change-overs, although still slightly sloppy, went like lightning compared to the usual standards of first division rock-and-roll. The curtains are used for dramatic effect, and at the end of the show, after a statutory “Diamond Dogs” encore, a voice announces that “Mr. Bowie Has Left The Theatre”. It kills the kids demanding a Second Coming stone dead. They leave the theatre with a fine sense of quietly hunting for more.

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The party afterwards at the Gramercy Park Hotel gave the New York Glittzers a chance to mingle with the cast and characters of the Radio City ensemble.
Bowie, supping on sturgeon and sipping Dom Perignon, held animated conversation with David Johanssen of the Dolls, Tony Visconti, and Wayne County (sans wig and looking very straight).
Talk ranged over a January `75 tour of Brazil, the Liz Taylor/Bowie silver screen debut shelved till next year, an album recorded in Philly for release in January, and the April/May/June tour of England, Scotland and maybe S. Ireland and the Continent.
Next day the rumour mill tells us that Bowie`s leaving early to drive to Cleveland, the next stop on the itinerary.
This kind of irrelevant information is very important in the incestuous little community that hangs around any major rock tour. Vampirella and chums fade from the lobby, and slink off to their lairs to lurk in wait for the next passing superstar. The rest of us make our own plans for the hop to Ohio.

On the plane to Cleveland I sit next to a character in an expensive brown business suit and cashmere sweater. It turns out that he`s a tour manager for Ringling Brothers Circus.
Ringling Brothers open in Cleveland the same night as the Bowie concert. The Circus has booked the biggest arena in the city. Bowie has the second biggest.
Ringling Brothers are sold out for twenty days. David Bowie and his completely new show are only sold out for one.
Rock-and-roll is put firmly in its place.
It rallies slightly when the circus man remarks that his younger clowns have been warned that, if they sneak off to see Bowie and miss the show, they are liable to be fired.

The Cleveland Public Auditorium is about the size of Wembley`s Empire Pool. Its decor is a little more sprightly, but the acoustics have the same air-hanger rankness that eats even the best P.A. for breakfast. To make matters worse, Bowie is suffering from laryngitis and his voice is failing fast.
He works hard, pulling with every register that hasn`t been burnt out, but it still doesn`t sound right.
The only thing to save the show are the musicians. Behind Mike Garson`s rather overbearing conducting and multiple keyboards, they carry Bowie to, if not a semi-triumph, at least a suitable show for Cleveland.
Cleveland`s a solid, serious industrial town sunk in rain and mounds of pollution.
The audience is for the most part in sensible blue jeans and lumberjackets. A few are decked out in fancy coats and fancy shirts, a few have daubed Aladdin Sane/lightning-flashes on their faces – but lower down are their best Friday night a disco frocks.
One young lady rushes forward and nervously hands Bowie a bunch of white flowers. He holds them for a while and then hands them to Miss Ava Cherry, one of his back-up singers. He explains that it is her birthday. It`s all very polite and homely.

There`s nothing like the gangs of ravening androgynes (a blast from the past) who rushed the stage in New York. The musicians even grin at each other while they play.
Bowie appears tongue in cheek, a little camply outrageous, but basically friendly. Although he cops a few of Jagger`s poses, there is no hint of Satanic Majesty. It`s all so nice that you could almost see him joining Elvis and Tom Jones on the casino circuit.
He also looks incredibly tired.
The show is shortened to an hour and there is no encore. The curtains close and before the clapping and yelling have seriously gained momentum the “Mr. Bowie Has Left The Theatre” booms out. The audience obediently leaves.
The police department herd out the stragglers and it`s all over. Kids walking home in the rain are bitching a little about how short it was, but nobody makes any serious complaint.

Back at the Holiday Inn, things are far more stable than they were in New York.
There are a few grungy Vampirellas in primitive face-jobs and some ladies maintaining they represent local radio stations. The roadies, security men, and journalists move in. They exchange heroic professionalisms, treat the ladies as colleagues and start asking them to come up to their rooms.
Bowie appears and vanishes in a flurry of retainers. He comes back, but again splits.
The drummer and bass player of his band commandeer the local combo who are playing in the bar. Bowie returns for a third time and finally settles in a corner to smile and watch his boys have fun.
In an evening of juxtapositions, one in particular stands out.
On our way out of the auditorium, two posters stare down from the wall. One announces Bowie – the other James Brown for the following week.

The motives behind this odd change of direction can for now remain only as speculation.
It could be that Bowie, having moved as far as he could in terms of rock spectacle, is now re-examining his music. The other alternative is that he is Retreating From The Edge in the basic Bob Dylan scenario.
Either way, Mr. Bowie seems, for the moment, to have left the theatre.

A really strange ad, but very confident!

A really strange ad, but very confident!

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: Tangerine Dream, Tim Rose, Bill Bruford, Peter Noone, Jack Bruce, Roy Harper, Hatfield and the North, Dave Cousins, Frank Zappa, Planxty, Andrew McCulloch.

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 around or upwards of 20 $ (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 4, 1973

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.

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I have been very busy at work, travelling and such…but I hope to resume normal service from here on. Have fun!

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Bowie-ing out at the Chateau

Charles Shaar Murray with the main man in France. Work on new projects, reports Murray, is going ahead deliciously in the dead of night.

“The future is very open-ended, actually,” said David Bowie, carefully disassociating a quarter of an inch of ash from his Gitane. “I can`t tell you much about what I`m doing because I`m not really too sure yet. There`s not much to add to what you already know.”

Bowie is perched on a chair behind the control board of the studio in the Chateau d`Herouville, about to start another day`s work on his “Pin Ups” album. He`s slightly less than immaculate: slightly stubbled, hair in disarray, face drawn and even whiter than usual, wearing a scoop-necked blue tricot and cream coloured Oxford bags.
Working togs in fact.
Superstars` finery is generally unsuited to the private labours of painstakingly assembling a rockanroll record, and the rustic elegance of the Chateau blends uneasily with such fripperies. After all, it`s buried in the French countryside half an hour out of Paris, and it`s the sort of place where you find a couple of dead daddy longlegses in your toothmug.

Work continues apace. Mick Ronson, the guitarist who launched a thousand fan letters and a similar number of plaudits from knowledgeable folks in several countries, is never seen without felt-tip pen and sheets of manuscript paper.
Even at breakfast, Ronson is working on string arrangements or dreaming up vocal harmony lines. Unlike some members of our merry cast, Ronno has not spent several hours of each night carousing in the bistros and discos of the City Of Light. In fact, he hasn`t been out of the Chateau grounds in three weeks.

Mike Garson and Trevor Bolder are long back in England, but Bowie and Ronson are putting in absurd amounts of studio time with Ken Scott, co-producer supreme. Aynsley Dunbar has completed all his percussion tracks, but he`s still around, wearing a magnificently studded and rhinestoned denim jacket with his name emblazoned on the back, and so many rings and bracelets that he clanks when you shake hands with him.

Today is Vocals Day. The instrumental tracks for the album are all but completed, barring a guitar here and some strings and a Moog there, and so it`s time for Bowie to put the lead vocals on. Apart from a meal break, he, Ronson and Scott are up in the studio well over 12 hours.
“Pin Ups” is Bowie`s tribute to the club rock of the `60s, and the items on the agenda include such classics of yesteryear as “Here Comes The Night”, “See Emily Play” and “Shapes Of Things.” He stands in the studio, hands clasped to his earphone, stopping the take if he`s dissatisfied with his intonation or phrasing.
Between takes, he prowls over to the piano and plays over his part before going for another try, bending the melody line in a slightly different direction each time, curtly snapping instructions over the studio intercom.
On “See Emily Play”, Bowie embellishes the Floyd`s old hit with a vocal device that would have Syd Barrett gurgling in sheer ecstasy. He and Ronson record their vocal harmonies over and over again at different speeds, with the same harrowing culuminative technique produced at the climax of “The Bewlay Brothers.”

Some of the songs are performed in the style of the mid-`60s, like the semi-legendary Pretty Things tune “Rosalyn” with its coarse high-energy vocal and rubbery Bo Diddley guitar.
Others get – uh – revamped. Billy Boy Arnold`s “I Wish You Would”, which had the signal honour of appearing on the first ever Yardbirds` single, gets sprucely turned out with some eerie moog work and a manic, squealing fiddle solo from a moustachioed gent called Michel, who works in a French band called Zoo.
“Can you bring the bass drum up a bit, Ken?” asks Dunbar. Scott mimes surprise.
“All right, Aynsley,” he says, “You don`t have to prove that you`re here.” Dunbar repeats his request.
“So that`s what`s keeping the beat.”
“It certainly ain`t the piano,” retorts the drummer.

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At the other end of the studio, Bowie and Ronson are rehearsing yet another harmony. They go in to record it, Ronson balancing a singularly improbable white hat on top of his cans.
The backing track kicks off, and as Ronson leans into the mike to start singing, the hat falls off. With perfect coordination, he scoops it up and still comes in on time. Unfortunately, Bowie has collapsed laughing and it`s a good five minutes before he`s in a fit state to sing again.
Meanwhile, social life continues apace. The Chateau is blessed with a lame excuse for a telephone switchboard that reduces Bowie`s assistant Gloria to impotent fury and a chef of dubious eccentricity. One of his favourite tricks is to dress up as Charlie Chaplin and provide before-dinner entertainment.
For after-dinner entertainment there`s a football machine, heavily patronised by Ken Scott, engineer Andy, equipment man Pete and Aynsley Dunbar.
During-dinner entertainment generally involves badinage of varying intensity, and the two favourite butts for the humour are Stuey the bodyguard and the unfortunate Ronson, still working away with the manuscript paper.

Apart from “Pin Ups”, there are also the tapes of that last Hammersmith gig to work on. Without exception, each live track cuts its studio original completely dead, and the guest appearance of Jeff Beck on “Jean Genie” and “Around And Around” was definitely an inspiration.
When the famous retirement speech comes up on the speakers, Bowie grimaces slightly. To say that his face shows mixed emotions is definitely an understatement.
The session finally breaks up at around three in the morning. Ronson goes up to bed, still declaring his intention to write some more string parts. Bowie commandeers the piano in the dining room to work on a new song, and by eight o`clock he`s still working.
He genuinely doesn`t know how to stop. After all, there`s another album to come after the live tapes (provisionally entitled “Bowie-ing Out”) are released, and already there`s a backing track laid down for one of the songs, not to mention the production of Mick Ronson`s solo album, and the movie, and God knows what else…

One of the week`s more amusing interludes was provided by the unexpected arrival of a gentleman from one of our competitors, who made himself just a mite unpopular. “We were talking,” said Bowie, “and he had a tape-recorder concealed inside his bag. I felt like telling him to bring it out and put it on the table, but he would have been so embarrassed.” Life is indeed hard.
“Pin Ups” sounds like it`s going to be a fine album. Bowie`s abilities as a composer and as a performer have rather tended to overshadow his skills as an interpretive singer, and his affectionate look back at the rock of the `60s should bring back a lot of goodtime memories for those who were around in the heyday of the Yardbirds, the Who, the Kinks, Them, the original Pretty Things and the Floyd, and quite an eye-opener for those who weren`t.

And as an additional embellishment, there might even be a new version of “The London Boys”, a `60s Bowie tune that was a conceptual forerunner and spiritual ancestor to “All The Young Dudes”.
It may not be the latest in the basic series of Bowie albums, but it`s gonna be fun, and in rockanroll, fun is its own reward.

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These were a golden time for rock operas – the charge led by Roger Daltrey and The Who!

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: The Faces, Don Powell (Slade), Them, Strawbs, The Osmonds, Dave Greenslade, Review of the London Music Festival, The Wailers, Bill Bruford (King Crimson), Peter Green.

This edition is sold!