In May and June 2000, ahead of his appearance at that year’s Glastonbury Festival, David Bowie kept an eight-part diary which was published in Time Out magazine. Here is the sixth instalment.
I think that one of the things that makes my bands so exhilarating to work with is that although I’m a solo artist I’ve never really had to rely on so-called studio session-men to play behind me. Quite usually, my musicians are artists in their own right and spend huge amounts of time on the road performing live. It gives their playing a different edge than the somewhat finely tuned but sluggish thing one gets with so many studio guys.
This band is a case in point. Gail Ann, my bass player for many years and ex-alumni of ‘Gang Of Four’, divides her time when not performing her own shows, between the B-52’s and myself. Mike Garson, although approaching 115 years old was, until their recent demise, the newest member of ‘Smashing Pumpkins’. He does the occasional studio session if he feels the quality or nature of the work is at the very least interesting and his most recent foray into that realm was with Trent Reznor who induced him to play on last year’s ‘The Fragile’. Sterling Campbell is also a ‘B-52’-er and again, until their split last year, drummer with ‘Soul Asylum’. Mark Plati, guitar, is one of my record producers. The first time I’ve had my producer work with me as road musician since Tony Visconti in 1970. For Mark, it’s like being in a band for the first time and I suspect he’s drooling over the idea of tossing the odd TV out of a hotel window. Television, that is.
The mystery man to all of us was Earl Slick. He seemed to have been swallowed up by the hills and time for many years. I came across him again when I stumbled into his web site a few months ago. He had indeed been going through an almost reclusive period in his life but, oh my, when he started playing at that first day’s rehearsal it was clear that he is still all fire.
Earl Slick, Adrian Belew, Carlos Alomar, Mick Ronson, Reeves Gabrels. It often amazes me how privileged I’ve been to have such fine musicians working alongside me on the road. I inwardly look smugly around and try and come up with the names of musicians who’ve worked for other of my solo-artist peers. A shameless exercise in vanity and most gratifying.
Other Glastonbury diary entries:
- Part one – 15 May 2000
- Part two – 19 May 2000
- Part three – 25 May 2000
- Part four – 1 June 2000
- Part five – 6 June 2000
- Part seven – 9 June 2000
- Part eight – 11 June 2000
Also on this day...
- 1973: Live: Free Trade Hall, Manchester
- 1972: Live: City Hall, Sheffield
- 1964: Live: Davie Jones and the King Bees, Bedsitter, London
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.