BY MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM VIA GQ
When Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Michael Cunningham got a call from someone claiming to be David Bowie, he thought it was a friend pulling a prank. He didn’t know he was about to be launched into a yearlong collaboration on a musical involving space aliens, mariachi bands, and an imaginary trove of unreleased songs by Bob Dylan. Here, for the first time, is the story of their unfinished show—and what it’s like to work alongside a bona fide pop genius.
VIA VINTAGE EVERYDAY
Here are some interesting black and white photos of Lou Reed, Mick Jagger and David Bowie taken by photographer Mick Rock at the Cafe Royale after Ziggy Stardust’s last “live” performance at Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1973. All kinds of characters showed up, including Ringo Starr, Jeff Beck, Bianca Jagger and Lulu…, but David spent much of his time chatting and laughing with Lou Reed and Mick Jagger.
BY ALEX DENNEY VIA DAZED
The Bon Bons at Rodney’s English Disco Courtesy of Faber
A few sainted examples aside, glam is usually seen as the black sheep of the rock family tree. As a genre, it tends to get written off as trashy, regressive – a cheap flash of colour on the dowdy landscape of 1970s Britain, synonymous with tight-trousered Top of the Pops appearances and the taint of sexual scandal. But for Simon Reynolds, author of a new book about the music and its legacy, glam’s influence is alive and well in 2016.
“I got interested in the 70s as this period where pop music kind of invented postmodernism by itself, in a non-theoretical way,” says Reynolds, a music-culture maven whose last book, 2011’s influential Retromania, examined pop’s ongoing obsession with its own past. It was a chapter on glam in this book, says Reynolds, that sparked the idea for Shock & Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy. “I think glam as an era prefigures a lot of pop music of the first 16 years of the 21st century. It’s really with glam where pop music becomes pop about pop – there are songs about being a rock’n’roll star, which is what (David Bowie’s) Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane are all about. Originally rock’n’roll was about dancing or teenage concerns, but by a certain point it was such a huge thing, it became something worthy of commentary itself.”
BY MATTHEW STRAUSS VIA PITCHFORK
Berlin Mayor Michael Müller has unveiled the city’s memorial to David Bowie, the Associated Press reports. It is a plaque that commemorates the time Bowie lived in the city. It is located at the building where he lived from 1976 to 1978 with Iggy Pop. See the plaque below.
Around that time, Bowie recorded his iconic Berlin Trilogy of albums: Low (1977), “Heroes” (1977), and Lodger (1979). The former two were recorded in West Berlin, while Lodger was actually recorded in Switzerland. Bowie has said that “Heroes”’ title track, in particular, was inspired by watching his producer Tony Visconti kiss his girlfriend against the Berlin Wall. The plaque quotes the song, “We can be heroes, just for one day.”
This is Part Two of an interview Legs did with record industry veteran Steve Harris for Please Kill Me. Read how the MC5 fucked up their promising career, how Iggy was always misunderstood, and how Danny Fields lost his job… and more…
STEVE: I have the best MC5 story. You might have heard it but this is the best. I’m having lunch with Jac Holzman and he gets a call from our distributor in Detroit. They are throwing all of the Elektra records and Nonesuch records out of the store. They’ll never take another one again. What happened? There was an underground newspaper in Detroit that was pretty important at the time. Now, there was store in Detroit called Hudson’s. And they wouldn’t sell the MC5 record because it said “motherfucker.” So what the MC5
did was they took out a full page ad and said if they don’t sell their records that they would kick out their doors and windows. And they put the Elektra logo there. Well, the distributor was crazed. It was like Tower Records saying you can’t carry any more records, right?
BY NAOMI FRY VIA PARIS REVIEW
Painting by Lucien Rudaux, ca. 1920–30.
In Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain’s oral history of punk, Please Kill Me, the ’70s LA groupie Sable Starr recounts the excitement she felt the first time she slept with David Bowie:
Upstairs at the Rainbow they have just like one table. Me and David were sitting there, with a couple of other people. And to have all your friends look up and see you—that was cool. That was really cool … Back in the hotel we were sitting around. I had to go to the bathroom, and David came in and he had a cigarette in his hand and a glass of wine. And he started kissing me—and I couldn’t believe it was happening to me, because there had been Roxy Music and J. Geils, but David Bowie was the first heavy. So we went to the bedroom and fucked for hours, and he was great … I became very famous and popular after that because it was established that I was cool. I had been accepted by a real rock star.
BY EVAN MINSKER VIA PITCHFORK
During the latest episode of his BBC Radio 6 program “Iggy Confidential,” Iggy Pop spent two hours paying tribute to his late friend, David Bowie. He played songs from across Bowie’s discography. “The way I chose them was from memory,” he said of the playlist. “I took out a piece of paper and a pen and remembered what I liked at different times.” As he played different songs, Iggy discussed his memories of Bowie.
BY EVAN MINSKER VIA PITCHFORK
David Bowie was honored in the latest installment of “BBC Proms”—an annual series of orchestral concerts. It took place last night at London’s Royal Albert Hall and featured performances from John Cale, Amanda Palmer, Marc Almond, Laura Mvula, Anna Calvi, and others covering songs from across Bowie’s discography.
BY SCARLET MEYER VIA YAHOO
David Bowie’s son Duncan Jones welcomes new baby into the world.
David Bowie may be gone, but his legacy and his family lives on thanks to a new arrival! On Friday, Bowie’s filmmaker son Duncan Jones, and Duncan’s wife Rodene Ronquillo, announced the arrival of their son! Jones also revealed that the new member of the family bears bittersweet tribute to Bowie, as he’s been named Stenton David Jones. Aww.
Jones revealed that Baby Stenton’s birth happened exactly 6 months after the passing of his famous granddad (the late and great David Bowie).
BY JESS DENHAM VIA THE INDEPENDENT
An unreleased David Bowie album is set to appear in an upcoming box set. Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) will be the first release from Bowie’s archive since his death from cancer aged 69 in January and, excitingly, it will feature seven-song record The Gouster. The album was the original version of what eventually became 1975’s Young Americans.
Full details of the box set will be announced next week, but Bowie’s co-producer Tony Visconti has offered some insight into the origin of The Gouster, which has never been released as a full album.
“Gouster was a word unfamiliar to me but David knew it as a type of dress code worn by African American teens in the Sixties, in Chicago,” he said. “But in the context of the album its meaning was attitude, an attitude of pride and hipness. Of all the songs we cut we were enamoured of the ones we chose for the album that portrayed this attitude.”