In the studio

‘New Killer Star’ was recorded during the Reality sessions, which took place between January and May 2003.

The sessions took place at Philip Glass’s Looking Glass Studios on Manhattan, New York City, where producer Tony Visconti rented studio B.

I’m very proud that Philip Glass is my landlord. He’s a smashing guy, and when we were recording he’d occasionally poke his head into the control room, have a listen and offer very encouraging advice.
Tony Visconti
Sound On Sound, October 2003

Bowie and Visconti recorded a series of demos before the other musicians arrived at the studio. Elements from some of the demos, including ‘New Killer Star’, made it to the final released version.

Before the band came in, I’d played bass on all of the demos, and some of my bass parts eventually made it all the way to the album in preference to Mark Plati’s. This was the case on ‘New Killer Star’ — Mark had a go at it, but there was some kind of personality in my bass playing that David preferred, and the same applied to ‘The Loneliest Guy’, ‘Days’ and ‘Fall Dog Bombs The Moon’.
Tony Visconti
Sound On Sound, October 2003

The driving rhythm, meanwhile, recalls Little Peggy March’s 1963 version of ‘I Will Follow Him’. Furthermore, elements of Bowie’s vocal melody are reminiscent of his own ‘’87 And Cry’ from Never Let Me Down.

The release

David Bowie’s Reality album was released on 15 September 2003.

The ‘New Killer Star’ single followed two weeks later, on 29 September, with a cover of Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s ‘Love Missile F1-11’ as the b-side.

The single was not widely released. The CD single was issued in Canada, and European countries including Austria and Italy.

The cover was a photograph of Bowie playing his 1956 Supro Dual Tone guitar, one of two such eBay purchases which he played throughout A Reality Tour.

The photograph was taken by Frank W Ockenfels III. The single for ‘Never Get Old’ used the top half of the photograph for its cover, presenting the full image when the two were aligned together.

A DVD single of ‘New Killer Star’ was also issued in several countries, including the UK and US. This contained the shorter 3:42 video edit of the song, and also included an electronic press kit for Reality. This was disqualified from chart placing due to the DVD format, meaning the song failed to chart anywhere in the world.