David Bowie landed on this planet sixty five years ago. What better way to return to the world of blogging, wake up and smell the space age coffee of one man so far ahead of the pack and in a class of his own.
At the beginning of the month I was invited to open a series of tribute concerts to honor David Bowie’s birthday. A cornucopia of bands all doing covers of their favorite Bowie songs culminating with local Tampa Bay heroes Barely Pink finishing off the show with Ziggy Stardust in it’s entirety. As I prepared my talk I became excited at rediscovering just how David Bowie’s influence on me then was just as strong now. I was older and I could understand, I had something to compare Ziggy Stardust to…but I couldn’t. There just isn’t anything that touches it for it’s originality, it’s danger and it’s utter razzmatazz.
When I grew up rock music was about rebels, it was about excitement and creating mayhem. It was something your mother would never like and your father would cast stones at. We were never meant to grow up this way, rebels don’t fit, they never will but they never want to anyway. They do it their way, they are the misfits of society and they change people lives. I didn’t have age on my side then, I just embraced it for what it was. At eighteen I was smitten, forty years later I haven’t seen anything fit to lace those iconic red boots. Ziggy changed our lives in a way no other ever will. I almost feel qualified to pass judgement, I loved him as a fan but had no idea my entire life would be surrounded by rock, pop and everything in between. I’d no idea my job was to become my hobby. I’ve seen literally thousands of acts pass along the decades of my life but nothing compares. I have never been rocked in a way that makes me think anyone could roll Bowie away.
I’ve been lucky all my life. Back in 1972 I was blessed beyond belief by witnessing one of the greatest stories rock has ever told, the birth, adolescence and death of the magnificent Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. At the time I was 18 and already way too excited with rock music and the many delights it had already brought me. I’d experienced Hendrix, got dazed and confused with Led Zeppelin and meddled with The Pink Floyd. David Bowie was different.
Bowie had been around a while but was never one to be content with obscurity. He was never the type to be content with second best. He never had any doubts, he knew he was destined for stardom but wanted it on his own terms. He had actually said he’d be a millionaire by the time he was thirty and he was. David Bowie is influenced by the books he reads, the pictures he paints and the music he makes. David Bowie was always a genius, always pushing out ,the epitome of a rock star. Music afforded him his every indulgence. He just about invented the word.
Ziggy Stardust changed the way we looked at rock stars and how we listened to music. It grabbed you buy the throat, it forced you to pay attention. At the time of Ziggy’s birth, Bowie was nobody. He’d been around for years and apart from Space Oddity being a hit, everything else he’d put his mind to had failed. When David Bowie’s alter ego first set foot onstage he was the complete star way before we made him one.