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David Bowie Interview

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here's an interesting interview about artists and artistry with David Bowie...




He makes some very interesting observations...





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Other than the last few minutes, I felt no affinity to David there.


He's an artist that I never connected to. The keyboard player in the band have 'almost' quit sees him as a major icon, and grieved when he died. So he's got something real about him, but all I see is cosmetics and style. My loss.

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Great interview. Thanks for posting, John!


No one inspires me more than DB.


I often write words in a similar way too, sort of.


The stuff he was recording during that program didn't sound so good to me though. He's made some overly self indulgent rubbish (Tin Machine etc) ;) But as he said, you can't please everyone all the time. And it's reassuring that even the best can make some crap. Gives me hope ;)







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I always wonder if he's pulling a con.  


If there is one thing I like about Bowie is that he isn't trapped by idiom / style.  There is an element which often comes with success that one has to repeat using the same methods to gain success. Well, the public may bore of that or the artist may bore of that.  But often I think that he's clutching at straws trying to catch the next big thing.


The fascination with Dennis the Menace americana archetype,  Successful white collar materialism is something I would not expect from a punk folk rocker which epitomizes his foray into the music world.  Which to be honest you'll find in many a musician / singer / songwriter. Everyone buys in (rather then selling out) to a certain degree in order to get that first record on the label.  Many hated their earlier works which were just to appease the label. (Tom Petty, John Cougar on and on) While still more acknowledge that it's all part of the industry and were more then happy with the results of which they couldn't have the career they enjoyed.


As for his lineup.  While I love parker fly's Reeves Gabriel has always been too far avant garde for my tastes.  Same with Adrian Belew for that matter.  I should applaud them for pushing the envelope. For all the years of midi guitar very few guitarists are midi guitar evangelists.  And many of them are in their 60's or dead.

Edited by TapperMike
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Ah Mike, the eternal question... motivation. It's also an impossible question to answer unless the artist answers for you, and they are both self aware, honest and believable.


Most if not all motivations are complex combinations of different smaller motivations. I have no doubt some aspects of his decisions were commercial in nature. He is a human, and this is his choice of making a living, and in that we all sell out. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed.


That does not lessen the importance of artistic control or the strength of our creative muscles. We all work a balance of artistic vision and indulgence, to serve our own needs, but we are lying to ourselves if we think that how it is received by others does not figure in the equation at all.


Bowie I think reinvented because he was driven to, but trying to figure out if it was for commercial reasons or for the love of creative expression is a false question... it was both. The exact division no doubt changed album to album, song to song, production decision to production decision,


I often think it arises from a false form of musical snobbery, to divide artists along "sell out" lines. I've never met a musician who doesn't care about how their music is received or who doesn't make changes or consider making changes because of listener reaction... even if that is the opinion of respected fellow writers or friends.


I tend to think to be too governed by either extreme is a bad idea:

  • Too consumer focused - music feels soulless, unadventurous, functional, programmatic
  • Too self focused - music is self indulgent, unengaging, passive aggressive

Just my opinion, but one for me that I have seen borne out too many times. It's a passionate argument I have seen argued both ways too many times by people justifying why their brand of music is more worthwhile, more valid, than someone else's.


I don't think you are arguing this Mike... it is just a train of thought I often find prompted by the notion of someone "selling out". That David Bowie should be conning his listeners, or that anyone should be... in an industry that is almost 100% smoke and mirrors I find an amusing thought.


His listeners are generally satisfied by an extensive and varied song catalog, with an accompanying varied visual appeal... that at certain points in his career have been trend setting... or to use a modern phrase or two... he is "on point" or "fashion forward". lol


We are all victims of the trends of the society we live in. To use our knowledge of that to help guide our creative decisions is no less valid than using a known song form, or musical scale or chord, or chord progression... in my opinion :) Feel free to disagree... after all, variety keeps it interesting, vital and stimulating :)

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Thanks Mike :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

My favourite Bowie interview was this one he did with Chris Evans on TFI Friday (Channel 4, UK)


I remember watching it on TV and it was hilarious, I was crying laughing at the time.


He definitely wasn't taking himself too seriously at all at that time and was totally enjoying it. 



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