Like Lemmy, this is another hard one for me to swallow. It’s weird to get choked up about the death of a total stranger, but I don’t remember Bowie NOT being a major rock star. He’s ALWAYS been there, for my whole life. He came out of one of my favourite eras; the 70’s. The same era that spawned Elton John and The Dolls and Kiss and T-Rex and countless other “glam” acts that understood the show part of show business.
He was known for being artsy and visually innovative, but listen to his music…he could be funky, he could kick ass, he could be introspective, he could be pop and rock and anything else you wanted. Bowie did duets with Freddie and Mick and Bing. That’s a pretty diverse crew that felt like they could collaborate with him. A crew of people who only needed one name because they were/are so unique and famous. A crew of legends.
I’m a guy who loves guitar. When I think of singers who have a knack for picking unbelievable guitar players, I usually mention David Lee Roth (EVH, Steve Vai, Jason Becker, John 5, et al) and Ozzy (Tony Iommi, Randy Rhoads, Jake E Lee, Zakk Wylde, Gus G., et al). David Bowie had a similar knack by bringing on board Mick Ronson, Earl Slick, Robert Fripp, Peter Frampton and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Jesus Christ. The guy knew what a great guitar player looked like.
David Bowie was ubiquitous. I just got off the phone with my 80 year old dad, and he said “I didn’t realize how many of his songs I knew”. My 24 year old daughter said the following:
It is often so hard to find beauty when someone dies. But in the last 12 hours I’ve seen so many people recount stories of the first time they heard a Bowie song and how it made them feel. Read lines about how all it took was one man falling to Earth for them to feel that their art too had a place out there in the world. Stories of connections made through generations. Accounts of nearly every artist I’ve come to love and what it was like to know him over the years. And that’s truly what life is about isn’t it? Creating something in the time we’re alive that hopefully (ch-ch-ch) changes the world around us. David Bowie’s reach was so far and he was the master of his own myth right until the very end. It’s rather great to be able to say I was alive in the small amount of time he spent on this planet.
I can’t add anything to that. I’m so sad that David Bowie is gone. Like Lemmy, he is irreplaceable, and the music world…the world…is worse off without them here.
All along, all I’ve really wanted to be is a writer. So now I tell people that’s what I am, even though I haven’t earned a dime being a writer.
That being said, I’ll confess that once a day, every day, I wish I was still a musician. That was the one time in my life when I was cool.