Tag Archives: Iggy Pop

➤ How Bowie threaded blue notes through his final surge of creativity

David Bowie, The Last Five Years,TV,video, Sue,

Bowie as a projected image in the video for Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)

“If you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel capable of. Go a little bit out of your depth and when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting” – David Bowie

THE MOST GRIPPING SEQUENCES in the new TV documentary about Bowie’s final surge of creativity are those which assemble every musician in the bands he worked with from 2012 to the end. Each band re-enacts pivotal moments when they rehearsed the music, inspired by his lyrics, and laid down the tracks for the albums The Next Day and Blackstar. Particularly revealing is the session when pure jazz soloists created the nerve-tingling Sue (Or in a Season of Crime), which Bowie added to his 2014 “best-of” collection, Nothing Has Changed.

To mark the first anniversary of the star’s death, this weekend BBC2 screened David Bowie: The Last Five Years, Francis Whately’s sequel to his other superb documentary Five Years broadcast in 2013. The role of jazz in Bowie’s musical temperament seldom gets discussed, though his producer Tony Visconti says the jazz influence had always been there in the music but underneath the surface. As a small child Bowie heard a jazz band and right away said: “I’m going to learn the saxophone. When I grow up, I’m going to play in [this] band. So I persuaded my dad to get me a kind of a plastic saxophone on hire purchase.”

In 2013 in New York he met Maria Schneider, a jazz composer, handed her a demo disc and asked her to extemporise around a tune called Sue. In turn, she told him he had to listen to this sax player Donny McCaslin and without missing a beat Bowie went straight into the studio with his group and Maria and out came possibly the purest jazz number of his career, a discomfiting tale of infidelity. It won Schneider a Best Arrangement Grammy in 2016.

➢ Watch the Donny McCaslin Group working
on Bowie’s Blackstar

Click any pic below to launch slideshow

REVIEWS OF THE LAST FIVE YEARS TV DOC

➢ A thrilling portrait of a late-life renaissance
– Jasper Rees at the Arts Desk

The opening yielded much joyful footage of Bowie goofing around on the Reality tour (2003), seeming much more like one of the boys than he ever managed with Tin Machine. The band still seemed spooked at the memory of his collapse, before he was carted off to retirement in an ambulance.

Maria Schneider was one of many musicians – three complete bands – who re-formed to walk through the creation of the music. Drummer Zachary Alford still looked shocked at the NDA handed him as he showed up to work on The Next Day. “If I said anything about it,” remembered bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, “I would be in big trouble legally.” Nobody was asked if Bowie really would have sued his collaborators for spilling the beans.

The recent collaborators reflected on the extent to which the new music was steeped in the past. But there was also good stuff from the old lags who worked (and sometimes slept) with Bowie in the feather-cut era: Ideally there would be a DVD with extras featuring much more from each of them. Chief keeper of the flame Tony Visconti sat at a console and played excerpts of Bowie’s unaccompanied vocal takes. On Blackstar came the haunting sound of Bowie wheezing like an ancient mariner fighting for every last scrap of breath. . . / Continued online

➢ A treat and a treatise on music’s departed genius
– by James Hall, Daily Telegraph

The Last Five Years wove previously unheard Bowie interview material with on-screen contributions from collaborators including producer Tony Visconti. The access and insights were faultless. Whately’s programme was essentially a treatise on artistic rebirth. And it showed that although Bowie’s musical style constantly changed, the themes that preoccupied him — alienation, escape, the notion of fame — were there until the end.

During his final creative burst, Bowie gradually revealed to collaborators that he was ill. In the most poignant scene, we learned that Bowie only discovered his cancer was terminal three months before he died. This was in October 2015 when he was filming the video for Lazarus, in which he sings the line “Look up here, I’m in heaven”. Bowie worked and cared and joked until the end. Through tears, Visconti said that he was at ‘the top of his game’. . . / Continued online

➢ David Bowie: What have we learned since his death? Some astounding new Bowie facts
have come to light – via The Guardian

70TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE CONCERT IN LONDON

tribute ,concert, David Bowie, Steve Norman, London

Brixton tribute concert for Bowie: Gail Ann Dorsey singing Young Americans with Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman. (Photo: Getty)

❏ On what would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday his friend the actor Gary Oldman gathered at the Brixton Academy a 30-strong all-star lineup of musicians who had collaborated throughout his career, with some glorious orchestral and choral support. The show is the first in a run of gigs around the world taking place in cities that have a strong connection with Bowie and his work.

The London concert featured Mike Garson, Earl Slick, Adrian Belew, Mark Plati, Gerry Leonard, Sterling Campbell, Zachary Alford, Holly Palmer, Catherine Russell, plus such guests as Tony Hadley and Simon Lebon. Special highlights saw Gail Ann Dorsey singing Young Americans with Spandau’s Steve Norman on sax; and an audience singalong to Life on Mars? led by Adrian Belew and gifted vocals from Tom Chaplin from the band Keane. Plenty of live videos at YouTube.



➢ 10 Jan update: Gary Kemp joins his friend Robert Elms on BBC Radio London to discuss David Bowie, one year on. (Catch up on iPlayer for one month: starts at 13mins)

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: “I’m not a rock star” Bowie often said – No, David, you were a messiah

➢ 13 Jan: Iggy Pop’s tribute to The Songs of David Bowie on BBC Radio 6 Music and iPlayer for another month

➢ As a confused teenager living in Seventies suburbia, singer Andy Polaris retraces his obsession with Bowie

➢ Commemorating Bowie at the BBC

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➤ The Bowiesconti proxy has spoken: only second-hand interviews from here to eternity

interview, David Bowie,Tony Visconti, Where Are We Now?, Next Day

The Bowiesconti proxy: silent pop star plays puppet in the hands of his ventriloquist producer Visconti

❚ SHOCK HORROR REVELATION in today’s Times. David Bowie has been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous though seems to have abstained from drink 23 years ago. This is the bonus ball among many truths we’ve been getting closer to since the star’s 66th birthday comeback bombshell on Tuesday. Another is that he will “never do another interview again” and this itself comes from the mouth of his lifelong 68-year-old friend and producer Tony Visconti who is giving this interview to The Times. Visconti has become Bowie’s Voice on Earth, we’re told. And by the end of the two-page read, we’re so far into Smash Hits territory – Bowie’s fave TV shows are The Office and The Shield – that you’re gritting your teeth at the prospect of another 30 years of interview-by-proxy.

➢ Meanwhile here are five revelations we gleaned from today’s Times interview with the Bowiesconti proxy:

1 – A second Bowie single may be issued before the album The Next Day is released on March 11. And a second album is almost inevitable. “What he wants to do is make records. He does not want to tour,” says his Voice on Earth.

2 – An exclusive list of the 14 album tracks shows all-original material embracing adult themes of “tyrants, spies and soldiers” to reflect Bowie’s recent reading matter, as well as “love in the internet age”. Titles include Dirty Boys (about glam-rockers), Valentine’s Day (about a mass murderer), Set the World on Fire (about an unnamed female nightclub singer) while the track The Next Day is itself a gruesome number in which a man is hung, drawn and quartered in stereo (remember the final scene in Braveheart?) so you might have to look away now and have a lie-down.

Braveheart, movie, Mel Gibson

HDQ in Braveheart 1995: Mel Gibson takes it like a man

3 – During Bowie’s cocaine-fuelled Berlin years recalled on the new single, Where Are We Now?, his Voice says: “We’d have both been dead if we’d carried on.” Visconti stopped taking coke in 1984. Both men went to AA and we’re invited to deduce that Bowie has passed his 23rd anniversary without a drink, placing his temperance decision at 1989, year of the Tin Machine album, itself an expression of musical regeneration.

4 – Since his heart op in 2004 rumours have circulated that Bowie also has cancer. “They’re categorically not true,” says the Voice. “He is incredibly fit because he takes care of himself. He looks rosy cheeked.”

5 – Big letdown for the gayers: while living in Berlin David and Iggy had separate bedrooms in their seven-room Hauptstrasse apartment. Did their relationship go beyond friendship? “No, absolutely not.” Aw, c’mon. What about the Ziggy years? “I never witnessed him with a boyfriend,” Bowiesconti declares. “He said Ziggy stardust was a persona.”

After slapping us with this big wet fish, perhaps Tony Visconti can rehearse a few laughs for his next major interview as the proxy David Bowie, otherwise Jonathan “The Joker” Ross will hog the limelight as usual.

JAN 13 UPDATE

➢ New from the Sunday Telegraph interview with the Voice on Earth:
Despite all reports to the contrary, Visconti reveals that Bowie may actually perform these songs live. “He doesn’t want to tour any more. He’s had enough of it. But he hasn’t ruled out that he might do a show.”

Will there be another record? “We recorded 29 titles. We have at least four finished songs that could start the next album,” says Visconti. “If all goes well, we will be back in the studio by the end of the year. He’s back. Bowie has found out what he wants to do: he wants to make records. Nothing else.”

➢ Jan 13: David Bowie secures first Official Top 10 Chart single in two decades – Arriving at Number 6, Where Are We Now? becomes his highest charting hit since Absolute Beginners reached Number 2 in 1986.
➢ Shock and awe verdicts on Bowie’s born-again masterpiece
➢ Riddle of the train Bowie could not have taken in
Where Are We Now?

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2011 ➤ Leee Childers interviewed: risqué tales of Warhol, glitter and Iggy’s best feature

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❚ LAST NIGHT BRITISH PARTY PROMOTER Chris Sullivan sat in a new London gallery cafe to ask Leee Black Childers about his formative years leaving Kentucky for New York City and getting drawn into Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd of the late 60s and 70s. For more than an hour at The Society Club in Soho, Childers confessed all about his formative years when Warhol encouraged him to “say” he was a photographer, after which he snapped many informal early pix of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Jayne County. All the photographs on display are on sale for the next week.

Our two videos catch a few ribald moments verbatim. Other landmarks included Danny Fields and Andy Warhol taking him to see this “terrific new band”. Using the camera his brother had given him on his 17th birthday, Leee produced sensational pix of the young misfit Iggy Pop at the Stooges’ first New York concert. Leee lived for a year with Iggy. “You should know that he had a really great mind. He would talk about Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and kept me awake talking about philosophy all night. He was also a very kind person and had one of the best penises I’ve seen.”

Lee attributes the birth of the glitter phenomenon in 1970 to Theatre of the Ridiculous director John Vaccaro’s production of Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit which was set in a circus, to which he brought “giant, huge barrels of glitter and he said, Put it everywhere, and everyone onstage was covered in glitter”.

Linda Clark, Leee, Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious, Dee Dee Ramone. (Photo by Danny Fields)

In 1971 Leee visited London when Andy Warhol’s ground-breaking show Pork took over the Roundhouse with nude scenes that revelled in the recent abolition of theatre censorship in the UK. During this trip he met David Bowie performing at the Country Cousins nightspot in Fulham: “I’d never heard of him but I went because they said he wore a dress, but he wasn’t wearing a dress. We also met Angie Bowie who was not wearing a dress either. That show was pretty lame.” Yet when Bowie later came to play in New York, Leee was asked to be the vice-president of his US company. He subsequently travelled with Bowie through Russia in 1973 and was tour manager for Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers when they supported the Sex Pistols on their 1976 Anarchy tour across the UK.

Leee hung out with the Sex Pistols in both London and New York. Asked from the floor “Who killed Nancy?”, Leee replied: “Nancy killed Nancy. She created the situation where it was impossible to go on” — referring to her fractious relationship with Sid Vicious. Though Vicious was charged with her murder in 1978, Leee says: “We all know it was not Sid.”

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➢ Last week’s report: Leee Childers brings his slice of 70s New York to London

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