BOWIE TV SPEC, SOLO CONCERT
BBC-TV is considering an ambitious half-hour colour special starring David Bowie - whose 'Space Oddity' single rises to No. 18 in the NME Chart this week - and he has been added to the "Save Rave" charity show with the Beach Boys on November 30. Bowie's follow-up single is expected to be 'Janine,' a track from his Philips album to be released on November 15th. As reported exclusively in last week's NME, he has also been added to the current Humble Pie package tour.
The success of Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in Britain has caused renewed interest in the single in America, and it seems almost certain he will visit the U.S. in December for a short promotion stay.
New dates for him include Birmingham Rebecca's on October 19th, and a 9-day tour of Scotland from November 7th.
He has also been booked for Brighton Dome on November 19th, and the following day will give "An Evening With David Bowie" at London's Royal Festival Hall Purcell Room.
A spokesman for him said this week: "David wants to show his versatility as an artist, and this is why we are presenting him in his own solo concert so soon. In the colour TV special, the entire half-hour is devoted to him singing every kind of song from folk to rock 'n' roll and ballads."
The "Save Rave" concert will now take place at the London Palladium and not Wembley, as reported last week.
GADZOOKS! IT'S ALL HAPPENING
BBC2 - 7.00pm
THE PRODUCER of Gadzooks, Barry Langford, is taking great care to keep his show up to date. "I'm not booking far ahead," he explains. "I'm waiting to hear the releases before I engage the artists. The scene is changing so fast that some of the guests will come as a 'complete surprise.'" Davy Jones and the Manish Boys, who are appearing tonight, are likely to come into this category.
Little known outside the London clubs, they cut their first disc on March 5, and their main claim to fame at present is that they have produced another 'new sound.' It is the 'sax sound,' and the group contains two tenor saxophones (one played by Davy Jones himself), a baritone sax, a lead guitar, bass guitar, organ, and drums. All the boys come from Maidstone in Kent - except for eighteen-year-old Davy, who hails from Bromley.
THANET GROUP SHOULD REACH TOP 30
I DON'T USUALLY begin this column with news of a local beat group, but this week I have in my possession a brand new disc from The Lower Third, who recently teamed up with singer Davie Jones and are heard with him on this, their first release, "You've Got A Habit Of Leaving" (Parlophone). It's a very catchy number and it should reach the Top Thirty charts without any trouble at all. Davie Jones was 17 when he became a full-time singer. He opted for singing from a choice between that and commercial art. Davie was doing both as a semi-professional, but decided to drop the art because he thought singing was more creative. He joined the King Bees and was with several other groups before joining the Lower Third. While he was singing with other groups, the Lower Third were playing in Thanet, where they were living at the time. They are now based in London. Lead guitarist, Dennis (Teacup) Taylor was born in Ramsgate and met the other members of the group whilst at school at Dane Court, Broadstairs.
I DON'T USUALLY begin this column with news of a local beat group, but this week I have in my possession a brand new disc from The Lower Third, who recently teamed up with singer Davie Jones and are heard with him on this, their first release, "You've Got A Habit Of Leaving" (Parlophone).
It's a very catchy number and it should reach the Top Thirty charts without any trouble at all.
Davie Jones was 17 when he became a full-time singer. He opted for singing from a choice between that and commercial art. Davie was doing both as a semi-professional, but decided to drop the art because he thought singing was more creative. He joined the King Bees and was with several other groups before joining the Lower Third.
While he was singing with other groups, the Lower Third were playing in Thanet, where they were living at the time. They are now based in London. Lead guitarist, Dennis (Teacup) Taylor was born in Ramsgate and met the other members of the group whilst at school at Dane Court, Broadstairs.
DAVID BOWIE INTERVIEW
By Kate Simpson
SEVERAL people I know see David Bowie as a one-hit wonder. Until recently I shared their doubts as to his future beyond the song-that-made-him-famous Space Oddity. Then there was his recent concert at London's Purcell Room, I changed my mind. His performance was astounding. He had the audience bewitched with his words, his music, his voice and his professionalism. With simplicity and sincerity he sang his songs. He has his own style, but also great imagination and versatility.
There are strains of Major Tom in most of his compositions, but not noticeable enough to be boring after the third song. You can hear every word he sings, he's dreamed, he's felt. Songs about old ladies who steal from supermarkets; spacemen, and a girl he never really got to know and didn't really like very much. Several months ago Tony Norman interviewed David Bowie. His record was a hit, and he was full of beautiful ideas. With the success of his first album, I went to talk to him again, and find out just how much success had altered his ideas and views.
Our conversation covered many topics from pop to politics. Having seen the audience's reaction at the Purcell Room, I was interested to see how much it meant to him...
"When you're playing are you always involved with the audiences, do they mean anything to you - the people out there?"
"Oh yeah, because it's the very reason I write and work. But not as a kind of 'I love you' audience. They are a reception for me."
"Their reactions are important - of course they are. I don't write with the idea of teaching, because I don't know what I've got to say is very important. I don't like the artists who come on with this 'this is how to save the world' stuff."
"So when you say you write for your audience - in what way do you write if you're not teaching them?"
"I write about pretty average things, most of them everyday occurrences."
"You enjoy playing?"
"I like all my numbers - I like them very much. I love playing them. The point is I also hope that other people like them very much. If I have a number which pleases me and which obviously doesn't please the other people, then I don't use it. I'm not going on stage with numbers that just please me, because that's not my way of writing songs. I write for other people's pleasure."
"Is the hit parade important to you?"
"No it isn't. The only importance in singles is to go and show people I write different stuff. I'm so hard on this. I've had it levelled at me so much in the last few weeks. A lot of people say my songs are different, and I say 'well, that's my style'. Every single is going to be different."
"A new one lined up?"
"Yeah - two. Out in January."
"Space Oddity - are you bored with it?"
"Oh yes. It's only a pop song after all."
"Commercialism - does it worry you?"
"Not really, it makes a considerable amount of money."
"And you like money?"
"Of course I do. I defy any so called artist to say they don't like money and to get nothing. There are so many hypocritical attitudes especially among the groups that haven't made it. They're striving like mad for some kind of commercial success - releasing singles and albums by the score. It's not that they want to communicate particularly. A lot of them haven't anything at all to communicate. I've never seen so many dishonest people in my life. I don't believe anybody has more than anybody else... it's down to emotion really - which most of this music is."
"Do you think people should choose the type of music they want to hear or be taught?"
"They are just not capable of doing it. You can't teach them. People dream their own lives up for themselves. You can't do anything for anybody. They have to do it themselves. You have to do your own 'thing', and if you haven't got that awareness then you are not the kind of person who is going to be able to run your life. Unless of course you are in a certain state where you are happy to be able to follow other people. You can't analyse it. We've been trying for two thousand years. This country is crying out for a leader. God knows what it is looking for, but if it's not careful it's going to end up with a Hitler. This place is so ready to be picked up by anybody who has a strong enough personality to lead. The only person who is coming through with any strength is Enoch Powell. He is the only one with a following. Whether it's good or bad is not the point, the fact is he had."
"You're very irritated?"
"The whole revolution bit drives me mad."
"Do you use your songs to demonstrate?"
"Cygnet Committee is one way of using a song. But these people - they're so apathetic, so lethargic. The laziest people I've met in my life. They don't know what to do with themselves. Looking all the time for people to show them the way. They wear anything they're told, and listen to any music they're told to. People are like that."
We sat talking - David was looking at some pictures and write-ups of himself.
"Do you like seeing pictures of yourself?"
"Yes, because it means that I'm being seen. There's no point in being in this business if nobody knows you. I want to be known, I want my songs to be known, otherwise I wouldn't go on writing, because I don't write for myself. There are lots of things I could do besides writing songs. I enjoy it and make money out of it at the same time."
Has he changed over the last few months? Yes. He's always changing. The David Bowie of today will not be the David Bowie of tomorrow. He doesn't know which way he's going - but he doesn't care. He lives from feeling to feeling. Today he is full of ideas - tomorrow they may be completely different. He's growing up. Try and get to see him. Listen to the album and remember... It's very hard to be a solo artist.
BIG L DISC NIGHT
Radio London fans going to the Big L Disc Night at the Coronation Ballroom, Pleasurama, Ramsgate this Friday will have the opportunity of witnessing the completely new act of David Bowie and the Buzz. To coincide with the release of his latest record, I Dig Everything and I'm Not Losing Sleep, issued by Pye last Friday, the group has re-shaped its act, spending as much as eight hours a day rehearsing.
I do not think Rubber Band is a hit. What it is is an example of how David Bowie has progressed himself into being a name to reckon with, certainly as far as songwriting is concerned. He is not the David Bowie we once knew. Even a different voice - distinctly reminiscent of a young Tony Newley - has emerged.
Listen to this record then turn it over and listen to The London Boys, which actually I think would have been a much more impressive topside. But both are worth thinking about.
Hear David Bowie - He's Something New
THE NEW LPs
DAVID BOWIE: Uncle Arthur; Sell Me A Coat; Rubber Band; Love You Till Tuesday; There Is A Happy Land; We Are Hungry Men; When I Live My Dream; Little Bombardier; Silly Boy Blue; Come And Buy My Toys; Join The Gang; She's Got Medals; Maid Of Bond Street; Please Mr. Gravedigger. (Deram)
A remarkable, creative debut album by a 19-year-old Londoner who wrote all 14 tracks and sings them with a sufficiently fresh interpretation to make quite a noise on the scene if he gets the breaks and the right singles.
Here is a new talent that deserves attention, for though David Bowie has no great voice, he can project words with a cheeky "side" that is endearing yet not precocious.
"Love You Till Tuesday" is a bright song with a fascinating lyric; "Uncle Arthur" is excellent; "Please Mr. Gravedigger" is eerie, original; and a lot of his other work is full of abstract fascination.
Try David Bowie. He's something new....
DAVID BOWIE - AMAZING SOUND!
By Penny Valentine
I have a bet on in the office that this is going to be a huge hit - and knock everyone senseless. There are disbelievers among us! David Bowie has always been talented but had a nasty knack of sounding like Tony Newley. Good records came from him but nothing to actually make you fall over. This does though. In fact I listened spellbound throughout, panting to know the outcome of poor Major Tom and his trip into the outer hemisphere. Apart from that - and some really clever lyrics - the sound is amazing. Mr. Bowie sounds like the Bee-Gees on their best record - New York Mining Disaster - and has managed to arrange the backing to sound like a cross between the Moody Blues, Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel. It's obviously going to do well in America, which is nice.
THIS IS DAVID BOWIE!
The Space Oddity chart smasher is included in this collection of self-penned offerings by talented young David Bowie. Some of the other tracks bear similarities to the initial hit but a couple of spins soon dispel this feeling as you begin to get into the lyrics. And those lyrics are but heavy. Deep, thoughtful, probing, exposing, gouging at your inners.
David Bowie I've yet to meet, though we are in fact suburban near neighbours, yet this album seems to serve as an intimate discussion between old friends. This is more than a record. It is an experience. An expression of life as others see it. The lyrics are full of the grandeur of yesterday, the immediacy of today and the futility of tomorrow. This is well worth your attention. This is David Bowie!
By Tony Palmer
DAVID BOWIE first came to notice with the spectacularly good song called Space Oddity which surfaced in the charts a month or so ago. He then gave a sizzling concert in London's Purcell Room which was mostly ignored by the national press, presumably because they thought pop and Purcell were incompatible. Now he has released an LP of songs - including Space Oddity - called simply David Bowie (SBL 7912).
On stage, he is quite devastatingly beautiful. With his loofah hair and blue eyes, he pads around like every schoolgirl's wonder movie-star. He smiles; you melt. He winks; you disintegrate. He fumbles away on his twelve-string acoustic guitar with ferocious gusto. He apologises that his repertoire is mostly his own songs, which he admits sound all very much the same.
It's all relaxed, chatty, informal and you forgive him his husky voice, his strained top notes and his careless intonation. You slump back, allowing this contemporary minstrel to dazzle you with niceness. Then, suddenly, he tears into you with a violent, passionate, angry, stamping song about fear and despair - 'Our weapons were the tongues of crying rage', he shouts. Using the imagery of war and sudden death, he offers simple homilies of charity and kindliness. 'My head's full of murders/Where only killers scream', he warns.
Bowie is 22 and was born in Brixton, London, but grew up in Bromley, Kent. He now lives in Beckenham and is trying, without success, to rouse enough interest to start a local Arts Lab, modelled on Jim Haynes's now defunct Drury Lane organisation. He's also moving into acting, after a miniature appearance in The Virgin Soldiers.
His love reveries are dreary, self-pitying and monotonous. But when he turns his eye to the absurdities of technological society, he is razor-sharp in his observations (although the sound production on his records does its best to obscure this), especially in the exquisitely scored version of his hit single, Space Oddity. At a time when we cling pathetically to every moonman's dribbling joke, when we admire unquestioningly the so-called achievement of our helmeted heroes without wondering whey they are there at all, Bowie sings of a man called Major Tom who sets off from Cape Kennedy and just never bothers to come back. To the bewilderment of Ground Control, he just waves a sad goodbye to his wife and then shuts off the communication circuits.
BECKENHAM ARTS LAB
Telephone Interview With Chris Welch
"I run an arts lab which is my chief occupation. It's in Beckenham and I think it's the best in the country. There isn't one pseud involved. All the people are real - like labourers or bank clerks. It started out as a folk club, arts labs generally have such a bad reputation as pseud places.
"There's a lot of talent in the green belt and there is a load of tripe in Drury Lane. I think the arts lab movement is extremely important and should take over from the youth club concept as a social service.
"The people who come are completely pacifist and we get a lot of cooperation from the police in our area. They are more than helpful.
"Respect breeds respect. We've got a few greasers who come and a few skinheads who are just as enthusiastic.
"We started our lab a few months ago with poets and artists who just came along. It's got bigger and bigger and now we have our own light show and sculptures, et cetera. And I never knew there were so many sitar players in Beckenham."
FOR THOSE BEYOND THE FRINGE
By Leslie Thomas
Are you hairy? If so, are you proud of being hairy and want to remain hairy? And are you tired of people making fun of you? If so, join a new society formed just for you and other hirsute folk - the International League for the Preservation of Animal Filament.
"It's really for the protection of pop musicians, and those who wear their hair long," explained the founder and president, David Jones, of Plaistow Grove, Bromley. "Anyone who has the courage to wear hair down to his shoulders has to go through hell. It's time we united and stood up for our curls."
David, who leads a professional pop group called The Manish Boys, is in process of enrolling members.
"Screaming Lord Sutch, P.J. Proby, The Pretty Things and, of course, The Stones and The Beatles - we want them all as members. You've no idea the indignities you have to suffer just because you've got long hair," said David, who gave up commercial art to go into the pop business. "Dozens of times I've been politely told to clear out of the lounge bar at public houses. Everybody makes jokes about you on a bus, and if you go past navvies digging in the road, it's murder!"
The International League for the Preservation of Animal Filament will give long-haired lads a sense of belonging, he thinks. It will fight their causes and encourage them when too many people are poking fun.
WITHOUT doubt David Bowie has talent. And also without doubt it will be exploited. For, Mr. Bowie, a 19-year-old Bromley boy, not only writes and arranges his own numbers, but he is also helping Tony Hatch to write a musical score, and the numbers for a TV show. As if that wasn't enough, David also designs shirts and suits for John Stephen, of the famed Carnaby Street clan.
And his ambition? "I want to act," says Bowie modestly, "I'd like to do character parts. I think it takes a lot to become somebody else. It takes some doing."
"Also I want to go to Tibet. It's a fascinating place, y'know. I'd like to take a holiday and have a look inside the monasteries. The Tibetan monks, Lamas, bury themselves inside mountains for weeks and only eat every three days. They're ridiculous - and it's said they live for centuries."
It should be stated that David is a well-read student of astrology and a believer in reincarnation....
"As far as I'm concerned the whole idea of Western life - that's the life we live now - is wrong. These are hard convictions to put into songs, though. At the moment I write nearly all my songs round London. No. I should say the people who live in London - and the lack of real life they have. The majority just don't know what life is."
Every number in Dave's stage act is an original that he has written. As he says. the themes is usually London kids and their lives. However, it leads to trouble.
"Several of the younger teenagers' programmes wouldn't play 'Can't Helping Thinking About Me', because it is about leaving home. The number relates several incidents in every teenager's life - and leaving home is something which always comes up.
""Tony Hatch and I rather wanted to do another number I had written. It goes down very well in the stage act, and lots of fans said I should have released it - but Tony and I thought the words were a bit strong."
"In what way? "Well, it tells the story of life as some teenagers saw it - but we didn't think the lyrics were quite up many people's street. I do it on stage though, and we're probably keeping it for an EP or maybe an LP. Hope, hope! It's called "Now You've Met The London Boys", and mentions pills, and generally belittles the London night life scene.
"I've lived in London and been brought up here, and I find it's a great subject to write songs about. And remember, with all original numbers the audiences are hearing numbers they've never heard before - so this makes for a varied stage act," said David, "It's risky, because the kids aren't familiar with the tunes, but I'm sure it makes their musical life more interesting."
He could be right.
By Don Chapman
AFTER the master at the New Theatre, his disciple at the Playhouse. And the comparison is bound to be to the detriment of the younger man.
Even in those items he borrows from his repertoire - The Lion Tamer and The Balloon Seller - Lindsay Kemp cannot rival the great French mime's economy and eloquence of expression, and in his own mimes he only hints at universal truths Marcel Marceau somehow manages to express.
For all that he is an artist of great promise - as Marceau acknowledged when he saw him at the Edinburgh Festival - and Pierrot in Turquoise, the new show he gave members of the Young Playhouse Association a first glimpse of yesterday, has great promise too.
At the moment it is something of a pot-pourri. Mr Kemp - with the assistance of Craig San Roque - has devised a fetching pantomime through which Pierrot pursues his love of life, his Columbine, tricked by Harlequin and deceived by the ever-changing Cloud.
Natasha Kornilof has designed a beautiful backdrop and some gorgeous costumes. And David Bowie has composed some haunting songs, which he sings in a superb, dreamlike voice.
But beguilingly as he plays Cloud, and vigorously as Jack Birkett mimes Harlequin, the pantomime isn't a completely satisfactory framework for some of the items from his repertoire that Mr Kemp, who plays Pierrot, chooses to present.
His mime of the clown who sells his shirt to buy a flower for Columbine then, when Harlequin wins her from him with a bunch of flowers, exchanges the flower for a rope from which to hang himself, is perfect.
And with a little rearrangement Butterflies, The Balloon Seller and Aimez Vous, Bach? - an amusing number in which he snips open his inside, throws his heart away, and trips off using his intestines as a skipping rope - might be tailored to fit his chosen theme.
But Lady Burlesque, a satirical portrait of a bored striptease artist, Adam and Eve, a ribald retelling of the Bible story, and Old Woman, Little Bird, a sort of science fiction nightmare, have been shoved in without much forethought because they are mimes Mr Kemp performs extremely well.
No doubt these are shortcomings Mr Kemp will attend to before he presents Pierrot in Turquoise at the Prague Festival at the invitation of Marceau and Fialka next summer. No mean honour for an English mime troupe.
David Bowie says most things the long way round!
By Penny Valentine
ON HEARING a new LP called David Bowie, someone remarked: 'Well it's very nice, but do you think he's a lasting talent?'
The answer is Yes. Not just on the strength of this album but merely because Space Oddity is not the be all and end all of his talents, and because David Bowie has been around writing some very good songs for the past four years. Unheralded, and to a great extent, unnoticed, except by the Bowie believers and devotees.
This album then is David Bowie NOW. As he has always been. David is a very social writer. He does not exactly make blatant social comments, but rather uses social diseases and the rather frightening atmosphere we all live in as a back-drop to his songs.
David Bowie took six months to write. "This has been a good writing period for me and I'm very pleased with the outcome. I just hope everyone else is too" says Bowie.
The album is out at the beginning of next month. On it David has arranged all the tracks, and is helped along in some almost semi-classical sounds by Juniors' Eyes. The atmosphere of the album IS rather doomy and un-nerving, but Bowie's point comes across like a latter-day Dylan. It is an album a lot of people are going to expect a lot from. I don't think they'll be disappointed.
Here David goes through the tracks:-
Space Oddity: 'This is slightly longer than the single. The sad thing about the record was that not all copies were in stereo. This is definitely a stereo sound and you lost a lot of impact on the single. This is how it's supposed to sound.'
Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed: 'This is a rather weird little song I wrote because one day when I was very scruffy I got a lot of funny stares from people in the street. The lyrics are what you hear - about a boy whose girlfriend thinks he is socially inferior. I thought it was rather funny really.'
Letter To Hermione: 'I once wrote a letter I never sent to Hermione, who was a dancer with the Lindsay Kemp mime company. I thought I'd record it instead and send her the record. I think she's in Greenwich Village now.'
Cygnet Committee: (9 minutes 30 seconds). 'I wanted this track out as a single but nobody else thought it was a good idea. Well it is a bit long I suppose. It's basically three separate points of view about the more militant section of the hippy movement. The movement was a great ideal but something's gone wrong with it now. I'm not really attacking it but pointing out that the militants have still got to be helped as people - human beings - even if they are going about things all the wrong way.
Janie: 'Mmm. This is a bit hard to explain without sounding nasty. It was written about my old mate George and is about a girl he used to go out with. It's how I thought he should see her.'
Occasional Dream: 'This is another reflection of Hermione who I was very hung up about.'
Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud: 'I must say I seem to say most things the long way round - I suppose that's why a lot of my numbers are very involved and long. The Wild Eyed Boy lives on a mountain and has developed a beautiful way of life. He loves the mountain and the mountain loves him. I suppose in a way he's rather a prophet figure. The villagers disapprove of the things he has to say and they decide to hang him. He gives up to his fate, but the mountain tries to help him by killing the village. So in fact everything the boy says is taken the wrong way - both by those who fear him AND those who love him, and try to assist.'
God Knows I'm Good: 'Communication has taken away so much from our lives that now it's almost totally involved in machines rather than ordinary human beings, There's nobody to talk your troubles over with these days, so this track is about a woman who steals a can of stew, which she desperately needs but can't afford, from the supermarket and gets caught. 'The machines looks on "shrieking on the counter" and "spitting by my shoulder".'
Memory Of A Free Festival: "Well we go out on an air of optimism, which I believe in. Things WILL get better. I wrote this after the Beckenham Festival when I was very happy.'"
|Created: July 1997 © Paul Kinder
|Last Updated: 11/11/2005