If Not for Bowie

If Not for Bowie

I almost didn’t want to post something about Bowie today because, what’s the point? There’s nothing I could say that would add anything of value to this global, internet outpouring. I’d rather hear from Tony Visconti and Brian Eno.

But Bowie passing is a moment that I think we should mark for posterity on our timeline. He influenced so many good things. In that spirit, here are some things that I’m thankful for that would have never happened to me if not for Bowie:

  • I would have never gotten into Phish in middle school and wondered what they were talking about with “David Bowie UB40.”
  • I would have never gotten my face painted as Ziggy Stardust for Halloween and gone on stage and to play bass on “Rhiannon” a half step below the rest of the band because the monitors on the stage weren’t working and I couldn’t hear anyone else.
  • I would have never watched the “love medley" from Moulin Rouge as a kid and realized that “Heroes” might be the best love song ever written. All of the best songs are deceptively simple.
  • I would have never sang “Let’s Dance” on my 30th birthday with my friend David MacNutt at a weird karaoke bar in Jacksonville, FL
  • I would have liked Nirvana Unplugged a notch less
  • I would have never gotten to sing “Sound and Vision” with my friends in Mon Khmer, and do well enough that they invited me back do “Ashes to Ashes” a year later at Glasslands. During my “Sound and Vision” debut I ended up rolling around on the floor at the end to great effect. During my “Ashes to Ashes” reprise I got too stoned, forgot all the lyrics, and ruined the song.
  • I would have never had the perfect male-duet option for karaoke with my buddy Brian Hall–Bowie’s version of “Sorrow”
  • I would have never seen the music video for “Space Oddity” enshrined next to “Penny Lane” in the MoMA on one of their little 1980s-tv-set-pedestals and realized that Bowie belongs right up there next to Gaugin. Highfalutin, I know!
  • I wouldn’t have fond memories of being at the band rehearsal space in Greenpoint and Jon Molina always bringing the discussion back to Bowie, no matter what we were talking about. This happened a lot.
  • I would have never gone to see Harlem at the Monster Island basement in Brooklyn and heard “Young Americans” come on super loud right as the show ended. It was the perfect time and place to be 27.
  • I would have never gotten to see the ending of Inglourious Basterds where “Cat People” is used to great effect as a theater full of Nazi’s burn to death.
  • I would have never been shocked to discover that Stevie Ray Vaughan played guitar on “Let’s Dance”

If not for Bowie…

1 comment

  • How about playing air guitar to Ziggy Stardust when I was 16 with my best friend over in his room over the garage and arguing. Almost as good as The Who Live at Leads. No Ziggy was better. No The Who was better. Mick Ronson what a monster on guitar. Hendrix was better. NO Mick Ronson is so underrated, man. Get Out Yer YaYas – Keith is it! No let’s play Ziggy louder, louder, louder. Oh man, the Klipsh are on fire!!!!

    Or the fist time I heard Heroes with my two favorites playing alongside: Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. I can remember how great it sounded. I had a true hero.

    The drums and bass on “Let’s Dance”.

    My headphone friend and hero – David Bowie.

    Bill Earle

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