Saturday, January 30, 2016

Show #144 DAVID BOWIE TRIBUTE January 16, 2016

Dedicated to Janine and the great David Bowie!

Janine- David Bowie Man Of Words/Man Of Music 
Rebel Rebel- Joan Jett and The Blackhearts Flashback 
Ziggy Stardust- Bauhaus Ziggy Stardust 
The Last Shadow Puppets- In The Heat Of The Morning In The Heat Of The Morning 
The Jean Genie- Enuff Z'nuff 10 
Moonage Daydream- Milky Edwards and The Chamberlings Starman 
Boys Keep Swinging- A Camp Covers EP 
Rock 'N Roll Suicide- OK Go and Bonerama Rock 'N Roll Suicide 
^China Girl- David Bowie China Girl 
Suffragette City- Steve Jones Fire and Gasoline 
Queen Bitch- Eater The Album
*Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)- Superchunk Cup Of Sand 
*Ashes To Ashes- Warpaint We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie 
*Teenage Wildlife- Ash Little Infinity EP 
Let's Dance- The Futureheads Q Covered: The 80's 
Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family- The Wedding Present The Hit Parade 
Changes- The Muffs A Salute To The Thin White Duke - The Music Of David Bowie 
**The Man Who Sold The World- The Wally Brothers The Man Who Sold The World 
**John I'm Only Dancing- The Polecats John, I'm Only Dancing 
**Life On Mars- Barbra Streisand ButterFly 
Under Pressure- My Chemical Romance and The Used Under Pressure 
Candidate- Dramarama Cinema Verite 
Blue Jean- Electric Six A Salute To The Thin White Duke - The Music Of David Bowie 
>Liza Jane- Davie Jones With The King Bees Liza Jane 
Black Country Rock- Big Drill Car No Worse For The Wear 
Heroes- Blondie Heroes 
Space Oddity- The Langley School Innocence and Despair

^Power Pop Prototype:   #10 Billboard Hot 100 6/4/83

*SacroSet 1:  Scary Monsters Covers
**SacroSet 2:  Unlikely Bowie Covers 

>Power Pop Prototype:  1964

My earliest memory of David Bowie goes back to the 70's.  As a child I was a television addict, marking each day of the week by the TV shows I planned to watch.  While violent shows like Starsky and Hutch, Baretta and S.W.A.T. were my preferred fare, I also watched variety shows with my parents like Sonny and Cher, Donnie and Marie and The Carpenters.  It was on one of these shows, or another like it (in the 70's it seemed like everyone had their own variety show) that I saw David Bowie perform "Space Oddity."  He
was the only person on stage, standing with his legs spread, hands on his hips staring expressionless into the camera.  Bowie was practically in grayscale, wearing baggy gray clothes with white face make up and his short hair slicked back.  He had an acoustic guitar strapped to his back but only played it during the acoustic guitar break- which is halfway into the song!  The rest of the time he just stood there motionless doing what I later learned was called lip-syncing.  I had never seen anything like this on television- it has taken on a mythic role in my rock and roll upbringing, especially because I can't find any reference to this performance on the Internet and that pretty much never happens.

A second formative Bowie experience came a year or so later.  I was sitting beside my sister Sarah in the spacious backseat of the family's Mercury Montego MX Villager- the ultimate suburban luxury station wagon.  

My dad was driving with my mom riding shotgun when "Suffragette City" came on the radio.  The song struck me as as dripping with attitude and swagger but the the thing that stood out most was the "AHHHH WAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM!"  My dad laughed as my mom quickly changed the station but David Bowie had once again entered my consciousness.  I still didn't go looking for Bowie records though because the songs of his I heard on the radio were all over the place.  For every rock and roll "Suffragette City" and "Rebel Rebel"  there was a what I considered a borderline disco "Golden Years" or "Fame."  Plus, as interesting as I found Bowie's Ziggy Stardust persona it struck my as completely incongruous that he was usually playing an acoustic guitar.  What kind of Spaceman plays an ACOUSTIC GUITAR???  I was a hard rock fan in the mid-70's and thus wary of acoustic guitars- in my mind, this is what a rock and roll spaceman was supposed to look like:

While the "Space Oddity" TV performance should have prepared me for future Bowie curve balls, I was completely thrown by his Saturday Night Live appearance on December 15, 1979.  First there were his otherwordly background singers, Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias, respectively clad in skin tight black and red dresses.  Always on the look out for edgy performers, Bowie saw opera singer Nomi and performance artist Arias in New York clubs and asked them to back him up on SNL.  Their first song is a cool new wave update of "The Man Who Sold The World" starting with Nomi and Arias carrying Bowie downstage in this very heavy looking tuxedo structure thing.  Nomi and Arias are striking poses throughout the song which ends with an operatic coda highlighting everyone's vocal talents with Bowie being picked up and carried upstage for one final pose.  

The Man Who Sold The World
The second song they perform is "TVC 15," Bowie now in a stylish grey skirt combo that reminds me of a Women's Air Corp uniform.  Note the pink robot poodle in the photo- Nomi and Arias drag it around the stage and at one point we see it has a video monitor in its mouth showing the performance we are watching.
TVC 15

Bowie and Puppet
On the first SNL after Bowie's death Fred Armisen came back to pay tribute and he talked about the 12/15/1979 appearance.  Armisen mentioned the back up singers and the poodle, but neglected to talk about the third and most bizarre performance that night.  For "Boys Keep Swinging" Bowie was off stage in front of a green screen animating this weird shirtless puppet.  NBC homophobically censored the lyric "when you're a boy, other boys check you out" so perhaps in retaliation Bowie decided to do something ten times more offensive.  Check out the gif below, specifically the front of the puppet's pants:

Boys Keep Swinging

HA!  How awesome is that!!!  I watched the show and completely missed this the first time but there is no denying it's there.  Bowie's puppet penis!  Not Ready For Prime Time indeed!  Thank you the Internet!

When I got to college at Emerson in Boston there was an RA at Charlesgate, the dorm across the street from mine.  She was a huge Bowie fan rocking a colorful array of leotard tops and a Ziggy Stardust haircut.  The "Old Wave/New Wave Then There's Bowie" ad at the top of this post was on her dorm room door.  She was interested in the punk and new wave we were listening to but would always bring things  back to Bowie.  It was this woman's influence (unfortunately I can't remember her name) that made me go out and buy Changesonebowie.  My favorite song on that was "Diamond Dogs" so a few weeks later I bought Diamond Dogs and was blown away. 
"Dressed like a priest you was/Todd Browning's freak you was"

That Christmas my parents gave me Lodger  and then I bought Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).  At this point my personal Bowie train was completely derailed by the MTV-ready pop of 1983's Let's Dance.  In retrospect, it seems like this was just another Bowie persona; following Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke there was... "International Pop Star."  

In the years since I've gone back and discovered the genius of the Ziggy Stardust... and Hunky Dory albums though Diamond Dogs is the one I keep returning to.  Thanks to a Twitter feed I watched Bowie's "Blackstar" video the day before he died.  I can't say I liked the music, but the

image of his bandaged button eyes was unsettling.  (Didn't help that it reminded me of the murderous Buttonface character played by David Cronenberg in Clive Barker's Nightbreed.) That night Jaime and I were in the car listening to Bill Stalling's Rox Files show on KSVY and Bill played Bowie's "Rock and Roll Suicide." Jaime asked me what Bowie was up to and I said, "from what I
Bowie and Lexi
hear, mainly walking his daughter to school in Manhattan every day." 
(Turns out she is 15, so it's probably been a while since he walked her to school, but I couldn't resist this picture.)  Jaime and I were watching TV the following evening when my son Jack came in and told us David Bowie was dead.  Needless to say, it was shocking news having just seen his new video and read about his new album and his Off-Broadway play Lazarus, starring Dexter himself Michael C. Hall.  Jaime shrieked when I showed her "Blackstar" but we both love the message of the "Lazarus" video, which to me is:  our bodies die but our art lives on.  

Watching "Lazurus" I thought I recognized the suit Bowie is wearing:
Lazurus Video 2015
An on-line search showed Bowie wore it in a 1976 photo session where he's drawing kabbalah figures on the floor

It showed up again in an ad in the 70's and a CD reissue in the 90's.
70's Magazine Ad
Station To Station reissue 1991
There is no way the reappearance of the suit in the "Lazarus" video is an accident. I am truly amazed at David Bowie's tremendous creative output while he was literally dying.  It is a true testament to the man's spirit.

While I was researching this post I came across a bunch of other Bowie stuff I'd like to share with you:
Bowie's First Recording in 1964
and tonight's Power Pop Prototype

An ad I remember from Circus Magazine

Lou Reed and Bowie getting close, blocking a third person...
...who happens to be Mick Jagger!

I love this photo of Bowie and Iggy!

Ziggy and The Spiders From Mars

"Lost" 70's tribute of Motown versions of Bowie songs that
ended up being a 2012 Internet hoax, but is still awesome!

Coolest mug shot ever!
On March 25, 1976 in my old stomping ground Rochester, NY Bowie was busted for weed (a half pound!) at the Americana hotel after playing a show at the War Memorial.  According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (which is unfortunately nicknamed the "D and C") members of Bowie's entourage were also arrested, including "James Osterberg, Jr., 28, of Ypsilanti, Mich."  (That's Iggy of course- man the 70's were amazing!)  At the time Bowie said he had no hard feelings and the grand jury didn't indict, but he never played Rochester again.  I've only been back there one time myself, so I get it.

Finally, who would've though the guy in the MIDDLE of the photo above would be the last man standing.  Bowie and Lou, R.I.P.  Long live Iggy!

Download link for the ALL KINDSA GIRLS tribute to David Bowie is below, click to stream or to download right click and "Save Link As"

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