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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Music Musings

I've been doing a little research on David Bowie. I was watching some old footage of concerts from the early 70s and it struck me: It is so weird seeing Ziggy Stardust holding an acoustic guitar! It was like seeing a knight holding a wooden spoon or a biker riding a tricycle. Weird. Like Kermit the Frog with teeth.

I guess Mick Ronson was enough electric guitar for the band...

I was watching a Dick Cavett interview where Bowie explained a sound bomb or black noise. He discusses how a certain register of noise can destroy a city...

Bowie comes off so flamboyant in the interview, so swishy... very different from how he looks and carries himself today. Back then he was so lizardy. He had these fangy yellow British teeth that, in his interview with Cavett in 1974, he was clearly self-conscious about. In that interview, what I took to initially be shyness, seems now to be gestures which hide his gnarly teeth. In images of him in the 90s he looks much more like James Bond. Perhaps marrying one of the world's most beautiful women made him seek out a cosmetic dentist.

He was reading Diane Arbus' photography book- very apropos. (Though he did incorrectly call her DI-Ann instead of DEE-ann.) I then watched an interview with Bowie in 2003 and seeing how different, personality-wise, he was. He was much cooler (at 57 no less!) than when he was 25. At this time, Bowie is looking back at what he did during the diamond dogs/Ziggy days. Back then there existed an Englishman's desire to not mock American rock, since Americans did it so well, but to change (or ch- ch- ch- change) the iconic look of rock. To adapt in reverse... to be something that we Americans had never seen.

You Tube has me totally enthralled: Old footage of Janis Joplin singing, interviews, it is opening up so much history for me.

AND I discovered that Jimi Hendrix was a paratrooper. And invented the "electric church." Because there are so many sleeping people...

But watching these interviews is so painful! Dick Cavett is so straight and so nerdy that seeing these rock gods, these legends trying to answer his goofy questions makes me cringe. He actually asked Janis Joplin if she snorkled. Hee!

I also found some great footage of Hunter S. Thompson. He discusses how his character Duke was a vehicle for his own thoughts. He eventually discovers that he was putting too much of himself into his works and he became a caricature of himself. And here I see this meta-conversation of Thompson giving the very definition of Gonzo.

1 comment:

Theron said...

Dude, I didn't know you were blogging. I was enthralled with Bowie back in the glamour rock days. I so wanted to be brave enough to dye my hair orange and get his rooster shag haircut...but I wasn't.