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David Bowie - anyone have any memories or stories to share? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 11th January 2016
  #1
David Bowie - anyone have any memories or stories to share?

There have been so many precious nuggets of information which have come out on GS, for example some of the amazing contributions in the Michael Jackson thread. Was wondering if anyone had any stories to share of working with David Bowie?
Old 12th January 2016
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Never worked with him, but when I was working at a restaurant in Cambridge Mass in the early 70's, we shared a back alley with a club a couple doors away, and from there you could see and hear the bands on stage. The backs of them anyway. One night Blondie was playing, and they had a second keyboard player onstage. Turned out to be Bowie.
Old 12th January 2016
  #3
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PdotDdot's Avatar
I never cared for his music but I saw him do The Elephant Man on Broadway and thought he was quite good.
Old 12th January 2016
  #4
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cavern's Avatar
 

Alice Cooper and David Bowie were the reason I got into music as a young man.
Bowie was one of a kind. I liked all his music and the different looks he'd come up with. Saw him twice live. Pretty spectacular.
Im actually sadder than I thought i'd be when I heard the news.
Old 12th January 2016
  #5
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I actually haven't been this bummed since Lennon died. The world feels different.
Old 12th January 2016
  #6
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Dr. Mordo's Avatar
 

Yeah, I am shocked how much it has affected me.

When I think back on him, besides his albums (most of which I love), what springs to mind are "Lust for Life", "The Prestige", and "The Hunger", and of course, Zoolander and Extras. What an amazing guy who could bounce between brilliant art rock to dramatic acting and still have the humility to be a caricature of himself.

Then the music. What still blows me away when I think about it how many great songs he wrote. I think we forget - he wrote all those songs. From "Space Odyssey" to "Changes" to "Let's Dance" to "Young Americans" to "Heroes", he wrote them all. "Hunky Dory" is in my all-time top 10 favs. Every song is amazing. And I'm embarrassed to say I haven't heard much of his newer stuff because I rarely listen to electronica. I'm typing this thinking I need to check them out, because if anyone could make interesting electronic music, it's Bowie.

I guess David Bowie just made the world a more interesting place. The world feels smaller without him.

Now, some Bowie inspired levity -








Last edited by Dr. Mordo; 12th January 2016 at 05:59 AM..
Old 12th January 2016
  #7
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gradivus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Mordo View Post

...snip...

Then the music. What still blows me away when I think about it how many great songs he wrote. I think we forget - he wrote all those songs. From "Space Odyssey" to "Changes" to "Let's Dance" to "Young Americans" to "Heroes", he wrote them all. "Hunky Dory" is in my all-time top 10 favs. Every song is amazing.
I wasn't a fan, but I have vivid memories (some of which family jostled out of my brain today) of his songs in the early 80's. The nostalgia f***ed with me a bit today. I can remember hearing his songs and The Clash when walking into my uncle's rooms, and wondering what that strange smell was lingering in the air, that was alien and yet so pleasant It still amazes me how certain music can have all that emotion attached at various levels, and why some touch us deeply and some don't.

Some of his songs I never even realized were his until I got older, since I didn't follow, especially since how much they've been used in various media since. I remember when I first watched Life Aquatic, I was thinking, "why the hell do these songs sound so familiar?"

Fan or not, I respect his talent as a songwriter, and enjoy the memories they are bringing back. You don't see many like him, less so these days. I'm just hoping we'll start to see new artists like this as the older ones are starting to die off. We badly need it.
Old 12th January 2016
  #8
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paul brown's Avatar
my musical heroes are dying off. Bowie had a profound musical influence on me. i cried when i heard the news today. no stories to share, just thankfulness for his creative genius.
Old 12th January 2016
  #9
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string6theory's Avatar
A true musical and creative genius and force... a wonderful chameleon over the decades with a unique style in its own genre.

So sad that he has passed. The unbelievably amazing variety of performances, songs, sounds, words, ideas, meaning... still cannot grasp the legacy he has left with us, which is monumental.

One of a Kind.

Best of the Best!

He is so missed.

I love David Bowie and his music.

Old 12th January 2016
  #10
Gear Nut
 

There are too many Bowie memories! One worth noting was today's: After the terrible hearing of the news was the wonderful hearing of his new album, Blackstar. It feels like this album is both a beautiful harbinger of his death and yet could become overshadowed by it. If this record came out 10, 20, 30 years ago it would be a masterpiece. Today has brought such an unfathomable loss to music, art, and the planet. But this fresh, forward-thinking set is another poignant reminder of what we've gained by Bowie all these years. He's still pushing us forward, up, and beyond without even being here to witness it.

R.I.P.
Old 12th January 2016
  #11
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soundebler's Avatar
Seem like a very friendly person , besides being good musician /artist/composer . singer

Old 12th January 2016
  #12
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lovekrafty's Avatar
 

Back in the early 90s I was a starving musician in Atlanta.
Was my day off and I was awoken by my radio alarm
To the news David Bowie was playing a surprise show in
A small club just a few miles from where I lived in the morning
Seemed a bit wierd.

I jumped into action , grabbed my bike and peddled like the
Clappers to the club.

I missed the show but was fortunate to meet him as he left
Along with some other fans.

Was a brief encounter but worth is to see the legend himself
What struck me was how short he was in person.
Because he is so skinny one assumes him to be quite tall
Was not the case he was skinny and quite short
Especially compared to his wife at the time.

Sad news indeed, once these musicians are gone
Bowie, roger waters etc. what will we be left with?
Old 12th January 2016
  #13
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charlieclouser's Avatar
 

In 1975, at the age of 11, I saved up my allowance and bought my first-ever album - David Live. A fantastic double album that captures the period where Bowie was transitioning from the Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane phase and the "Plastic Soul" phase of Bowie's evolution.

In 1995, twenty years later, I had one of the most spine-tingling experiences of my musical life - walking into a huge rehearsal room at S.I.R. in Manhattan as David Bowie and his band were running though their version of NIN's "Hurt". Cursory introductions were made as we stood at the foot of the stage with our bags in our hands, and before any of the guys on stage could put down their instruments, David said, "We think we've got a version of 'Hurt' worked up. Would you like to hear it?"

We took seats in the big couches at the back of the huge rehearsal hall, too nervous to even take off our heavy winter coats, and Reeves Gabrels started up with his backwards-sounding guitar riff that replaced the piano part in Trent's original version of the song.

The memory of that moment, so casual to David and company, but so awe-inspiring and terrifying to me, still gives me chills. At that moment, tears began to well up in my eyes as the magnitude of what was occurring sank in. It was all too heavy, man. Just... wow.

For the next couple of months, Trent, Robin, Chris, Danny, and I had the surreal experience of playing a "co-headlining" tour with David and his amazing band. NIN would play a fairly complete set, and then we shared the stage for a few songs with David singing alongside Trent, followed by members of his band gradually appearing on stage and joining in - culminating in a three-drummer, four-guitarist version of David's new song "Hello Spaceboy". Bashing away on keyboards and drums in the shadows and fog behind David and Trent, two of the most unique and creative musicians ever, is an experience that 11-year-old me could barely have imagined would ever be possible. But it happened. And it was unforgettable.

David was the most kind, gracious, and graceful man you could imagine. Off stage his demeanor was exactly as he appears in interviews - composed, intelligent, never at a loss for words. He was invariably complementary, enthusiastic, and insightful, but his sense of humor was always right beneath the surface. Compared to the erudite, cultured, worldly Bowie, we were a bit of a rough bunch, but he instantly put us at ease with his easy humor and casual manner, and made everyone involved feel as equals. Though, in truth, we all stood in awe of his talent, legacy, and role in our musical formative years. How dare he attempt to treat us as equals? We were mere mortals, each of us but pond scum from small towns in middle America, places with names like Mercer, Erie, Middletown, Marietta, and Corpus Christi, while he was a creature from another planet entirely, who had temporarily deigned to join us on Earth and grace us with a voice from an entirely different astral plane.

Some anecdotes:

Before one of the first shows, when we hadn't really "hung out" with David much yet and were still very nervous in his presence, Trent had recently turned 30 and was humorously bemoaning this fact, when David walked into our dressing room and heard the tail end of what Trent was saying. Without missing a beat, David countered his argument by saying, "Thirty is nothing. Wait 'til you turn 40 - your ass drops." Ice broken, tension defused, laughter exploded.

David had a wild collection of costumes to wear on stage, ranging from a sort of tuxedo-with-skirt concoction made of distressed linen to a suit with tails in snake-skin print fabric. He enjoyed wheeling out some unusual combo on various nights, and although his wardrobe was far more subdued than his getups in the Ziggy Stardust era, it was obvious that experimental fashion was something he was deeply involved with. It wasn't a case of some weird-o designer presenting costumes for him to trot out; he spent time and effort with his on-tour designer and seamstress combining and re-working pieces from a collection that spanned four or five roll-around garment racks, so that he could always keep the designs changing and create a fluid visual experience. I got the impression it was less for the enjoyment of the fans and more for his personal sense of presenting a complete artistic statement.

Carlos Alomar could drink Herradura tequila like it was water, and it seemingly had little to no effect on his ability to stay vertical and coherent - this was not the case with the rest of us. He'd carry a bottle around the after-show celebrations and offer it around, and as we choked and spluttered after downing a huge shot he'd poured, he'd say, "Yeah, feel that? That's the fire. Gotta have that fire!"

Mike Garson's keyboard setup was behind me on the stage, and in down time at sound checks I would try to screw with him by playing bursts of atonal, "kitten on the keys" piano noodles - which he could flawlessly improvise around and manage to turn into a free-jazz duet, even though he couldn't see what my hands were doing. I think his piano has more than twelve notes in the octave - or maybe mine had fewer? Either way, his ear and mind were so sharp that he could turn my nonsense into music without batting an eye. Amazing.

Of course it was surreal to be playing with David nightly, sitting around on big fluffy dressing-room couches wearing big fluffy bathrobes next to Ziggy Stardust himself, bumming a Marlboro Light from the Thin White Duke when I'd run out, and all that - but what impressed me the most was that he had a genuine enthusiasm for what was happening. He was in no way jaded, he was not out on "just another tour to pay the bills", he had no sense of competition between what he was doing and what young, disruptive upstarts like NIN were bringing to the table. As always, he was in search of the new. The unexplored. The unsafe. And this was absolutely evident in every moment of my time with him. I learned a lot about outlook, approach, and attitude by watching and listening to him.

At the end of the tour David surprised us all by presenting us with individual portraits that he had painted of each member of NIN. A very special gesture from one of the most talented, thoughtful, and gracious people I have ever known.

Pictured below is this unique and treasured artifact of a special moment in time.

R.I.P. David Bowie. Thanks for the music and for the memories.
Attached Thumbnails
David Bowie - anyone have any memories or stories to share?-cc-bowie-portrait-72.jpg  
Old 12th January 2016
  #14
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charlieclouser's Avatar
 

Here's a video from the Bowie / NIN performances in 1995, showing the "crossover" portion of the set, where David joined us on stage:

https://youtu.be/Wkwwt4spUbw
Old 12th January 2016
  #15
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GeminIAm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
In 1975, at the age of 11, I saved up my allowance and bought my first-ever album - David Live. A fantastic double album that captures the period where Bowie was transitioning from the Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane phase and the "Plastic Soul" phase of Bowie's evolution.

In 1995, twenty years later, I had one of the most spine-tingling experiences of my musical life - walking into a huge rehearsal room at S.I.R. in Manhattan as David Bowie and his band were running though their version of NIN's "Hurt". Cursory introductions were made as we stood at the foot of the stage with our bags in our hands, and before any of the guys on stage could put down their instruments, David said, "We think we've got a version of 'Hurt' worked up. Would you like to hear it?"

We took seats in the big couches at the back of the huge rehearsal hall, too nervous to even take off our heavy winter coats, and Reeves Gabrels started up with his backwards-sounding guitar riff that replaced the piano part in Trent's original version of the song.

The memory of that moment, so casual to David and company, but so awe-inspiring and terrifying to me, still gives me chills. At that moment, tears began to well up in my eyes as the magnitude of what was occurring sank in. It was all too heavy, man. Just... wow.

For the next couple of months, Trent, Robin, Chris, Danny, and I had the surreal experience of playing a "co-headlining" tour with David and his amazing band. NIN would play a fairly complete set, and then we shared the stage for a few songs with David singing alongside Trent, followed by members of his band gradually appearing on stage and joining in - culminating in a three-drummer, four-guitarist version of David's new song "Hello Spaceboy". Bashing away on keyboards and drums in the shadows and fog behind David and Trent, two of the most unique and creative musicians ever, is an experience that 11-year-old me could barely have imagined would ever be possible. But it happened. And it was unforgettable.

David was the most kind, gracious, and graceful man you could imagine. Off stage his demeanor was exactly as he appears in interviews - composed, intelligent, never at a loss for words. He was invariably complementary, enthusiastic, and insightful, but his sense of humor was always right beneath the surface. Compared to the erudite, cultured, worldly Bowie, we were a bit of a rough bunch, but he instantly put us at ease with his easy humor and casual manner, and made everyone involved feel as equals. Though, in truth, we all stood in awe of his talent, legacy, and role in our musical formative years. How dare he attempt to treat us as equals? We were mere mortals, each of us but pond scum from small towns in middle America, places with names like Mercer, Erie, Middletown, Marietta, and Corpus Christi, while he was a creature from another planet entirely, who had temporarily deigned to join us on Earth and grace us with a voice from an entirely different astral plane.

Some anecdotes:

Before one of the first shows, when we hadn't really "hung out" with David much yet and were still very nervous in his presence, Trent had recently turned 30 and was humorously bemoaning this fact, when David walked into our dressing room and heard the tail end of what Trent was saying. Without missing a beat, David countered his argument by saying, "Thirty is nothing. Wait 'til you turn 40 - your ass drops." Ice broken, tension defused, laughter exploded.

David had a wild collection of costumes to wear on stage, ranging from a sort of tuxedo-with-skirt concoction made of distressed linen to a suit with tails in snake-skin print fabric. He enjoyed wheeling out some unusual combo on various nights, and although his wardrobe was far more subdued than his getups in the Ziggy Stardust era, it was obvious that experimental fashion was something he was deeply involved with. It wasn't a case of some weird-o designer presenting costumes for him to trot out; he spent time and effort with his on-tour designer and seamstress combining and re-working pieces from a collection that spanned four or five roll-around garment racks, so that he could always keep the designs changing and create a fluid visual experience. I got the impression it was less for the enjoyment of the fans and more for his personal sense of presenting a complete artistic statement.

Carlos Alomar could drink Herradura tequila like it was water, and it seemingly had little to no effect on his ability to stay vertical and coherent - this was not the case with the rest of us. He'd carry a bottle around the after-show celebrations and offer it around, and as we choked and spluttered after downing a huge shot he'd poured, he'd say, "Yeah, feel that? That's the fire. Gotta have that fire!"

Mike Garson's keyboard setup was behind me on the stage, and in down time at sound checks I would try to screw with him by playing bursts of atonal, "kitten on the keys" piano noodles - which he could flawlessly improvise around and manage to turn into a free-jazz duet, even though he couldn't see what my hands were doing. I think his piano has more than twelve notes in the octave - or maybe mine had fewer? Either way, his ear and mind were so sharp that he could turn my nonsense into music without batting an eye. Amazing.

Of course it was surreal to be playing with David nightly, sitting around on big fluffy dressing-room couches wearing big fluffy bathrobes next to Ziggy Stardust himself, bumming a Marlboro Light from the Thin White Duke when I'd run out, and all that - but what impressed me the most was that he had a genuine enthusiasm for what was happening. He was in no way jaded, he was not out on "just another tour to pay the bills", he had no sense of competition between what he was doing and what young, disruptive upstarts like NIN were bringing to the table. As always, he was in search of the new. The unexplored. The unsafe. And this was absolutely evident in every moment of my time with him. I learned a lot about outlook, approach, and attitude by watching and listening to him.

At the end of the tour David surprised us all by presenting us with individual portraits that he had painted of each member of NIN. A very special gesture from one of the most talented, thoughtful, and gracious people I have ever known.

Pictured below is this unique and treasured artifact of a special moment in time.

R.I.P. David Bowie. Thanks for the music and for the memories.
That's quality man.

I don't think I've ever felt so strongly about a famous person passing away. Suppose it comes with the sheer genius of his work. Stuff like Space Oddity sounds decades younger than the music his contemporaries were churning out.

I read a tweet yesterday that cheered me up a little (don't know who wrote it):

"If you feel sad today, bear in mind that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and yet you've somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie"

I don't think there's any more anyone can say.
Old 12th January 2016
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
In 1975, at the age of 11, I saved up my allowance and bought my first-ever album - David Live. A fantastic double album that captures the period where Bowie was transitioning from the Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane phase and the "Plastic Soul" phase of Bowie's evolution.

In 1995, twenty years later, I had one of the most spine-tingling experiences of my musical life - walking into a huge rehearsal room at S.I.R. in Manhattan as David Bowie and his band were running though their version of NIN's "Hurt". Cursory introductions were made as we stood at the foot of the stage with our bags in our hands, and before any of the guys on stage could put down their instruments, David said, "We think we've got a version of 'Hurt' worked up. Would you like to hear it?"

We took seats in the big couches at the back of the huge rehearsal hall, too nervous to even take off our heavy winter coats, and Reeves Gabrels started up with his backwards-sounding guitar riff that replaced the piano part in Trent's original version of the song.

The memory of that moment, so casual to David and company, but so awe-inspiring and terrifying to me, still gives me chills. At that moment, tears began to well up in my eyes as the magnitude of what was occurring sank in. It was all too heavy, man. Just... wow.
Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences Charlie, as well as sharing that stunning portrait painted by David Bowie himself!
Old 12th January 2016
  #17
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cavern's Avatar
 

I believe it was Ken Scott in a Q&A here who said Bowie used to come into the studio and often nail his vocals in one take. He always came to the studio prepared.
Old 12th January 2016
  #18
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gradivus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
In 1975, at the age of 11, I saved up my allowance and bought my first-ever album - David Live. A fantastic double album that captures the period where Bowie was transitioning from the Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane phase and the "Plastic Soul" phase of Bowie's evolution.

In 1995, twenty years later, I had one of the most spine-tingling experiences of my musical life - walking into a huge rehearsal room at S.I.R. in Manhattan as David Bowie and his band were running though their version of NIN's "Hurt". Cursory introductions were made as we stood at the foot of the stage with our bags in our hands, and before any of the guys on stage could put down their instruments, David said, "We think we've got a version of 'Hurt' worked up. Would you like to hear it?"

We took seats in the big couches at the back of the huge rehearsal hall, too nervous to even take off our heavy winter coats, and Reeves Gabrels started up with his backwards-sounding guitar riff that replaced the piano part in Trent's original version of the song.

The memory of that moment, so casual to David and company, but so awe-inspiring and terrifying to me, still gives me chills. At that moment, tears began to well up in my eyes as the magnitude of what was occurring sank in. It was all too heavy, man. Just... wow.

For the next couple of months, Trent, Robin, Chris, Danny, and I had the surreal experience of playing a "co-headlining" tour with David and his amazing band. NIN would play a fairly complete set, and then we shared the stage for a few songs with David singing alongside Trent, followed by members of his band gradually appearing on stage and joining in - culminating in a three-drummer, four-guitarist version of David's new song "Hello Spaceboy". Bashing away on keyboards and drums in the shadows and fog behind David and Trent, two of the most unique and creative musicians ever, is an experience that 11-year-old me could barely have imagined would ever be possible. But it happened. And it was unforgettable.

David was the most kind, gracious, and graceful man you could imagine. Off stage his demeanor was exactly as he appears in interviews - composed, intelligent, never at a loss for words. He was invariably complementary, enthusiastic, and insightful, but his sense of humor was always right beneath the surface. Compared to the erudite, cultured, worldly Bowie, we were a bit of a rough bunch, but he instantly put us at ease with his easy humor and casual manner, and made everyone involved feel as equals. Though, in truth, we all stood in awe of his talent, legacy, and role in our musical formative years. How dare he attempt to treat us as equals? We were mere mortals, each of us but pond scum from small towns in middle America, places with names like Mercer, Erie, Middletown, Marietta, and Corpus Christi, while he was a creature from another planet entirely, who had temporarily deigned to join us on Earth and grace us with a voice from an entirely different astral plane.

Some anecdotes:

Before one of the first shows, when we hadn't really "hung out" with David much yet and were still very nervous in his presence, Trent had recently turned 30 and was humorously bemoaning this fact, when David walked into our dressing room and heard the tail end of what Trent was saying. Without missing a beat, David countered his argument by saying, "Thirty is nothing. Wait 'til you turn 40 - your ass drops." Ice broken, tension defused, laughter exploded.

David had a wild collection of costumes to wear on stage, ranging from a sort of tuxedo-with-skirt concoction made of distressed linen to a suit with tails in snake-skin print fabric. He enjoyed wheeling out some unusual combo on various nights, and although his wardrobe was far more subdued than his getups in the Ziggy Stardust era, it was obvious that experimental fashion was something he was deeply involved with. It wasn't a case of some weird-o designer presenting costumes for him to trot out; he spent time and effort with his on-tour designer and seamstress combining and re-working pieces from a collection that spanned four or five roll-around garment racks, so that he could always keep the designs changing and create a fluid visual experience. I got the impression it was less for the enjoyment of the fans and more for his personal sense of presenting a complete artistic statement.

Carlos Alomar could drink Herradura tequila like it was water, and it seemingly had little to no effect on his ability to stay vertical and coherent - this was not the case with the rest of us. He'd carry a bottle around the after-show celebrations and offer it around, and as we choked and spluttered after downing a huge shot he'd poured, he'd say, "Yeah, feel that? That's the fire. Gotta have that fire!"

Mike Garson's keyboard setup was behind me on the stage, and in down time at sound checks I would try to screw with him by playing bursts of atonal, "kitten on the keys" piano noodles - which he could flawlessly improvise around and manage to turn into a free-jazz duet, even though he couldn't see what my hands were doing. I think his piano has more than twelve notes in the octave - or maybe mine had fewer? Either way, his ear and mind were so sharp that he could turn my nonsense into music without batting an eye. Amazing.

Of course it was surreal to be playing with David nightly, sitting around on big fluffy dressing-room couches wearing big fluffy bathrobes next to Ziggy Stardust himself, bumming a Marlboro Light from the Thin White Duke when I'd run out, and all that - but what impressed me the most was that he had a genuine enthusiasm for what was happening. He was in no way jaded, he was not out on "just another tour to pay the bills", he had no sense of competition between what he was doing and what young, disruptive upstarts like NIN were bringing to the table. As always, he was in search of the new. The unexplored. The unsafe. And this was absolutely evident in every moment of my time with him. I learned a lot about outlook, approach, and attitude by watching and listening to him.

At the end of the tour David surprised us all by presenting us with individual portraits that he had painted of each member of NIN. A very special gesture from one of the most talented, thoughtful, and gracious people I have ever known.

Pictured below is this unique and treasured artifact of a special moment in time.

R.I.P. David Bowie. Thanks for the music and for the memories.
Awesome and surreal story. thanks for sharing, Charlie.

P.S. Your music in the mid 90's was a fine tonic to get me through puberty and a messed up family life, and a big part of my inspiration for being a musician. So thanks for that as well
Old 12th January 2016
  #19
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mamm7215's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by los marbles View Post
I actually haven't been this bummed since Lennon died. The world feels different.
Same.
Old 12th January 2016
  #20
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kennybro's Avatar
What a fabulous post, Charlie. Amazing story! Thank you for sharing.
Old 12th January 2016
  #21
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dights's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieclouser View Post
In 1975, at the age of 11, I saved up my allowance and bought my first-ever album - David Live. A fantastic double album that captures the period where Bowie was transitioning from the Ziggy Stardust / Aladdin Sane phase and the "Plastic Soul" phase of Bowie's evolution.

In 1995, twenty years later, I had one of the most spine-tingling experiences of my musical life - walking into a huge rehearsal room at S.I.R. in Manhattan as David Bowie and his band were running though their version of NIN's "Hurt". Cursory introductions were made as we stood at the foot of the stage with our bags in our hands, and before any of the guys on stage could put down their instruments, David said, "We think we've got a version of 'Hurt' worked up. Would you like to hear it?"

We took seats in the big couches at the back of the huge rehearsal hall, too nervous to even take off our heavy winter coats, and Reeves Gabrels started up with his backwards-sounding guitar riff that replaced the piano part in Trent's original version of the song.

The memory of that moment, so casual to David and company, but so awe-inspiring and terrifying to me, still gives me chills. At that moment, tears began to well up in my eyes as the magnitude of what was occurring sank in. It was all too heavy, man. Just... wow.

For the next couple of months, Trent, Robin, Chris, Danny, and I had the surreal experience of playing a "co-headlining" tour with David and his amazing band. NIN would play a fairly complete set, and then we shared the stage for a few songs with David singing alongside Trent, followed by members of his band gradually appearing on stage and joining in - culminating in a three-drummer, four-guitarist version of David's new song "Hello Spaceboy". Bashing away on keyboards and drums in the shadows and fog behind David and Trent, two of the most unique and creative musicians ever, is an experience that 11-year-old me could barely have imagined would ever be possible. But it happened. And it was unforgettable.

David was the most kind, gracious, and graceful man you could imagine. Off stage his demeanor was exactly as he appears in interviews - composed, intelligent, never at a loss for words. He was invariably complementary, enthusiastic, and insightful, but his sense of humor was always right beneath the surface. Compared to the erudite, cultured, worldly Bowie, we were a bit of a rough bunch, but he instantly put us at ease with his easy humor and casual manner, and made everyone involved feel as equals. Though, in truth, we all stood in awe of his talent, legacy, and role in our musical formative years. How dare he attempt to treat us as equals? We were mere mortals, each of us but pond scum from small towns in middle America, places with names like Mercer, Erie, Middletown, Marietta, and Corpus Christi, while he was a creature from another planet entirely, who had temporarily deigned to join us on Earth and grace us with a voice from an entirely different astral plane.

Some anecdotes:

Before one of the first shows, when we hadn't really "hung out" with David much yet and were still very nervous in his presence, Trent had recently turned 30 and was humorously bemoaning this fact, when David walked into our dressing room and heard the tail end of what Trent was saying. Without missing a beat, David countered his argument by saying, "Thirty is nothing. Wait 'til you turn 40 - your ass drops." Ice broken, tension defused, laughter exploded.

David had a wild collection of costumes to wear on stage, ranging from a sort of tuxedo-with-skirt concoction made of distressed linen to a suit with tails in snake-skin print fabric. He enjoyed wheeling out some unusual combo on various nights, and although his wardrobe was far more subdued than his getups in the Ziggy Stardust era, it was obvious that experimental fashion was something he was deeply involved with. It wasn't a case of some weird-o designer presenting costumes for him to trot out; he spent time and effort with his on-tour designer and seamstress combining and re-working pieces from a collection that spanned four or five roll-around garment racks, so that he could always keep the designs changing and create a fluid visual experience. I got the impression it was less for the enjoyment of the fans and more for his personal sense of presenting a complete artistic statement.

Carlos Alomar could drink Herradura tequila like it was water, and it seemingly had little to no effect on his ability to stay vertical and coherent - this was not the case with the rest of us. He'd carry a bottle around the after-show celebrations and offer it around, and as we choked and spluttered after downing a huge shot he'd poured, he'd say, "Yeah, feel that? That's the fire. Gotta have that fire!"

Mike Garson's keyboard setup was behind me on the stage, and in down time at sound checks I would try to screw with him by playing bursts of atonal, "kitten on the keys" piano noodles - which he could flawlessly improvise around and manage to turn into a free-jazz duet, even though he couldn't see what my hands were doing. I think his piano has more than twelve notes in the octave - or maybe mine had fewer? Either way, his ear and mind were so sharp that he could turn my nonsense into music without batting an eye. Amazing.

Of course it was surreal to be playing with David nightly, sitting around on big fluffy dressing-room couches wearing big fluffy bathrobes next to Ziggy Stardust himself, bumming a Marlboro Light from the Thin White Duke when I'd run out, and all that - but what impressed me the most was that he had a genuine enthusiasm for what was happening. He was in no way jaded, he was not out on "just another tour to pay the bills", he had no sense of competition between what he was doing and what young, disruptive upstarts like NIN were bringing to the table. As always, he was in search of the new. The unexplored. The unsafe. And this was absolutely evident in every moment of my time with him. I learned a lot about outlook, approach, and attitude by watching and listening to him.

At the end of the tour David surprised us all by presenting us with individual portraits that he had painted of each member of NIN. A very special gesture from one of the most talented, thoughtful, and gracious people I have ever known.

Pictured below is this unique and treasured artifact of a special moment in time.

R.I.P. David Bowie. Thanks for the music and for the memories.
Wow. That is truly amazing.

(Bumming a Marlboro Light from the Thin White Duke is also quite cool.)
Old 12th January 2016
  #22
Lives for gear
 
godotzilla's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeminIAm View Post

I read a tweet yesterday that cheered me up a little (don't know who wrote it):

"If you feel sad today, bear in mind that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and yet you've somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie"

I don't think there's any more anyone can say.
That came from Simon Pegg
Old 12th January 2016
  #23
Lives for gear
My mother was in the audience of Top of the Pops around 1964. A young cute blonde. And David Bowie was there, and the Rolling Stones and Vivienne Westwood. Unfortunately it's not on Youtube.
Old 13th January 2016
  #24
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Now I know what it feels like when a star dies...dang. What an under appreciated master. A heavy blow.
Old 13th January 2016
  #25
Gear Head
I was rehearsing at S.I.R. (Hollywood, 1974) and Bowie was rehearsing in another room. He would come and see us play and I would watch him play. He seemed very nice, humble and polite. It is so sad that he has passed.

It was an exciting time. Also rehearsing there were Fleetwood Mac (with new members Stevie and Lindsay) Billy Joel, Rickey Nelson, Little Richard, Smokey Robinson, Robin Trower and Stevie Wonder. It was an exciting time.
Old 13th January 2016
  #26
Lives for gear
No personal memories but.
I heard on the radio news yesterday that he used to travel unrecognised around London Underground Tube regularly.
Apparently he would don a hat and glasses but the deflection was that he would have a copy of a Greek newspaper in front of him.
Deffo the method actor.

Mick Ronson claimed he got in to orchestration/string arranging because of Bowie. At a dinner party with Dana Gillespie, she (or manager) said they needed string arranging done. Bowie quipped, "Oh Mick is your man there, he does all that"
Mick had never ever done it before but could read and write music, so it was a baptism of fire. Mick said, he had been watching how Visconti went about it and gave it a go, he just double checked it playing out on keys or guitar (no sequencers back then)
Mick said, Bowie was like that. He was always full of encouragement and positivity.

One thing i always found curious,was Bowies fear of flying.I think he had this fear most of his life.Its odd that someone so fearless in every other part of his life and is somehow aligned with Space travel should have this fear.

Last edited by Macky; 13th January 2016 at 02:39 PM..
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