The ZIGGY STARDUST Companion

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Ken Scott on
David Bowie (1973)
 

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 See also The Recording of Ziggy Stardust.

"Bowie is quite an easy person to work with.  Once we've got the correct level we usually go straight into it.  When they're done I take over and do the remixing.  Bowie's trying to get everything on 16-tracks.  But as Trident Studios are going 24-track early next year everything will be a lot easier for him.  Some "Aladdin Sane" tracks were recorded there.  And that's where Marc Bolan came to help out on guitar on quite a few tracks, though not credited on the sleeve.  Other tracks were recorded all over the place, including two at RCA's New York Studios.  He was over there at the time and suddenly got the urge to lay some tracks down.  He had some idea of getting an American sound.  They work on a much narrower frequency range in America - the highest range for equing is 7k's and the lowest is 100 cycles.  In England we go for as many highs and lows as possible and this means equing at 12 cycles.   Anyway, the two tracks recorded at RCA were "Drive in Saturday" and "The Prettiest Star"...he does need a lot of balancing and sometimes he can get temperamental, just like most other artists, I suppose.  In actual fact he hasn't really flared up too badly yet and when he does I'll obviously try to work around it.   As I said, anyone involved in recording gets aggravated at times.  Bowie doesn't like long breaks whilst machinery is being repaired.  We had a problem like this in America.  As far as I can remember it was at the time when we were recording "Drive In Saturday" and the headphones started to play up.  There wasn't much we could do about it, so whilst the engineers fixed them up we got some food in.

He's permanently changing as I'm sure most people will notice through his music.  Although he's really successful now he never acts the big time with me or any other person for that matter.  The only time he might get near to it is when he's gigging, but that may have something to do with the fact that he's constantly projected so that fans can't get near him.  Its a situation that would affect most people. He went to America by boat and when he'd finished touring there he sailed to Japan.  He returned to England via the Trans-Siberian railway and was in Moscow for the May Day celebration. 

I know Elton John works an LP in advance.  Bowie's not able to do this.  I don't think he really wants to anyway.  If you keep something for too long you tend to keep listening to it and then you'll find faults.  Its just not worthwhile working this way.  The one thing he does try to do in advance is get songs written. The ideas for his next LP came to him during his trip trough Russia.   If he wanted specially to produce someone it would be arranged, I suppose.  I know there's one artist in America that he's very impressed with.  Her name's Annette Peacock and she's very much onto the synthesizer which she even puts her voice through. I don't know whether he'd like to produce her though.  I think he'd like to do some film work, but not of the Andy Warhol variety.  At one time he was supposed to have done a film version of Robert Heinleins' "Stranger in A Strange Land".  I know it was definite then but at the moment I don;t know what's happening.  I think he'd prefer non-singing roles but would probably like to write the film score, which he'd do with his guitarist, Mick Ronson...

He likes to listen to records a lot.  If he gets into an artist he'll buy all their LPs and play them one by one.  The last time I can remember him doing that was with Van Der Graaf Generator.  He also likes sketching ideas for new stage costumes.  Other-wise he's a collector - of anything and everything, experiences, influences, the lot."

---This page last modified: 07 Jul 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)