The ZIGGY STARDUST Companion

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David Bowie:
Magnificent Outrage

1972 US Press kit cover

Im534.jpg (9475 bytes)

DAVID BOWIE

First, for the vital statistics:

Born: Brixton, England:a suburban area of London.

Childhood: Standard non-poor, non-affluent London milieu.

Schooling: Bromley Technical High. Dropped out to study the sax and Tibetan Buddhism.

Work stint: Commercial advertising artist. Brief, stifled, hassles. Quit and ...

Music stint: Formed David Jones and the Lower Third.

Name: Changed from David Jones to David Bowie when some other dude started Monkee-ing around. Band became David Bowie and the Buzz. Progressive Blues and maximum amplification.

Changes: Went back to his acoustic 12-string guitar and cabaret-style songs. Gigs in clubs in and around London as a solo artist.

LP debut: "Love You Till Tuesday," solo album on Derram.

Marital Status: Yes. Wife, Angela and son, Zowie.

Domicile: A Victorian ramble in the shire of Kent, England.

Four albums later, David Bowie has come to the forefront of the new music of the new image 70s. His move to RCA Records resulted in the highly acclaimed HUNKY DORY album, which received unprecedented critical huzzas...at least unprecedented until the release of Bowie's THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS, an album that has elicited such quotable quotes as "A stunning work of genius" (Circus), "A strong, moving, powerful piece of rock and roll" (LA Times), "The Elvis of the 70s" (Lillian Roxon of the N.Y. News) and "David Bowie is one bitch of a rocker" (Ron Ross in Words & Music). And too, there is the interesting prognostication of Nancy Erlich in the N.Y. Times: "The day will come when David Bowie is a star and the crushed remains of his melodies are broadcast from Muzak boxes in every elevator and hotel lobby in town."

In an interview in Rolling Stone, Bowie has explained himself and his attitude toward his music. (Explaining himself is a thing he is frequently called upon to do.) "What the music says may be serious, " he says "but as a medium it should not be questioned, analysed or taken too seriously. I think it should be tarted up, made into a prostitute,a parody of itself. It should be the clown, the Pierrot medium. The music is the mask the message wears -- music is the Pierrot and I, the performer, am the message."

In 1972, David Bowie -- with his supercharged band The Spiders From Mars -- began a series of gigs in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has been a while since the hyper-kinetic Bowie has been seen on stage, and the audience response has been a killer. One UK writer describes the Bowie phenom like this: "Bowie...dressed first as Harlequin meets Star Trek, and then in Garboesque white satin. He has a painted white face, a haircut from Clockwork Orange and moves like a marionette. For the next few months his picture will be in every magazine. And yet -- amazingly enough -- he is a remarkable performer." And in Disc Ziggy Stardust gets this accolade: "The music stands up on its own as some of the best rock to arrive on our minds for years."

David Bowie has often been described as the darling of the avante garde, but now it has become clear that he has moved into the greater arena now and his impact is overall...invading areas previously thought the property of the "Puppy Love" school of music, and too, shaking up the ears of the rock purists.

David Bowie will go where he wishes to go -- as he always has. Armed with his two RCA Records albums and his phenomenal band, it is certainly likely that, to quote Words & Music, "David and company...will kick more sonic ass than any group since the Stones." And what does David Bowie say? "Look out you rock and rollers..." That's what he says.

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RCA Press Kit photo (1972)

The Spiders From Mars

Mick Ronson: Played in a number of regional bands including two and a half years with The Cresters. Went to London and along with starving played with a band called Voice. Left that band and worked in a garage before joining doomed band called Wanted. Great debt and undernourishment. Worked at various day-labour jobs, joined Rats, and went with them to France where tour foundered, management snafued. Returned to London, got thrown out by family, re-joined Rats, and worked as gardener at girls school. Broke even financially and joined David Bowie as lead guitar and arranger. Masterfully arranges much of Bowie repertory.

Mick Woodmansey: Born in Driffield, England, and began drumming at the age of five. Started his own group at fifteen; performed locally. Joined the Roadrunners and played with them for three years, and then joined Mick Ronson in Rats. Later played in a band called Ronno with Ronson, Trevor Bolder. Split Ronno and returned to London. Joined David Bowie.

Trevor Bolder: Learned the trumpet from his father at age nine. Became cornet soloist with school band for three years. Began playing bass guitar, and with brother, formed Chicago Star Blues Band. Worked with various bands (Jelly Roll, Flesh) and then took some time off. Joined Ronno with Ronson and Woodmansey. All joined David Bowie. Trevor has worked as a decorator, a hairdresser and a piano tuner.

And that is the Spider Web.

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---This page last modified: 19 Jan 2007---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)