Since the early hours of Monday morning when the tragic news came through of the loss of one of the world’s leading pop icons, every form of media has rightly been flooded with articles, interviews, and images reminding us all of just how influential and innovative David Bowie has been and still is in the shaping of music culture. From Davy Jones, to Ziggy Stardust, even to the not so commercially successful bucktooth wizard, Bowie strove not to emulate but to create, and we decided to collect some thoughts and memories on this extraordinary man.
1. “I have done just about everything that it’s possible to do”
In this interview from 1996, Bowie explains his deep desire to experience everything life has to offer, from studying under a Tibetan lama to trying opium dens.
Bowie on Bowie:
2. “If it itches, go see a doctor”
When this at times fabulously glitter-clad musical genius gave a commencement speech at Berklee College of Music in 1999 he shared some unique and noteworthy advice with the crowd. However on a particularly musical note he discussed how he believes mixing ‘bad taste’ with ‘good’ will often produce the most interesting result, and encourages students to be fearless in their creative approach and ask ‘What if?’:
“What happens if you transplant the French chanson with the Philly sound?”
“Will Schoenberg lie comfortably with Little Richard?”
Need some mid-week alternative inspiration? Definitely worth a watch:
3. Voice minus glitter, lights, and costume.
With the suddenness of his death, there is an abundance of Bowie over the airwaves and the internet, and one recording that has resurfaced is an isolated vocal track of ‘Under Pressure’. Check it out here:
4. A secret gig in Ireland.
The humorous and humble nature of Bowie’s personality was widely known both within and outside the entertainment world, and one instance where this was apparent on our own shores was when he played a secret gig at the Factory, Ringsend in May 1997.
5. Predicting the future.
In an interview with Jeremy Paxman in 1999 Bowie describes how when growing up he saw music as a medium that could effect change, so hence the career as a musician. However he foresaw the ‘subversive and possibly rebellious’ character of the internet and how it would in essence take on rock and roll’s former role as a leader of the crowd.
6. Final UK interview.
In this interview from 2003, the ‘human’ more so than ‘supernatural’ side of Bowie is evident as he discusses the fear behind performance, how different environments affect songwriting, and juggling family life with touring.
7. Goodnight, Major Tom.
It’s not often an artist gives a goodbye of sorts to his fans, but then again it’s not often you come across an artist as inventive, innovative, and spectacular as Bowie. Blackstar may very well have been ‘goodbye’.
“Just like that bluebird, Oh I’ll be free, Ain’t that just like me”.
Some final advice from the man himself: “If it itches, play it”.