[No Longer] Crashing in the Same Car: Mothers

David Bowie , his mother & John Lennons’ “Mother”

In 1998, Bowie did a cover version of John Lennon’s “Mother” for a tribute album produced by Tony Visconti to John Lennon that was never released.

 Lennon was raised by his aunt. Bowie grew up with both his natural parents, but if his mother was physically available, she was not, it seems, emotionally accessible. Bowie sings Lennon’s lyrics with great conviction:

 Mother, you had me/But I never had you/I wanted you/But you didn’t want me

 That Bowie’s relationship with his mom was at best strained is obvious in the Dick  Cavett and Russell Harty interviews in the mid 1970s. In 1974, when Dick Cavett asks what his mother tells the neighbors about him, Bowie responds that likely she pretends he “isn’t hers” and adds he was never close to his mother. A year later, Harty says his mother has been a “bit tearful” that he hasn’t been in touch, but…

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Sigma Kids—Somebody Up There Likes Me

August 1974 – the trecording of Young Americans took place & some dedicated David Bowie fans got to hear it first
Sigma Kids—Somebody Up There Likes Me | On Manor’s Mind—A Quinn Martin Production…in COLOR!

On Manor's Mind---A Quinn Martin Production...in COLOR!

Despite what one may have been misled to believe by revisionist historians, the Seventies was not one wacky moment after another for carefree youths in zany clothing.

Philadelphia in the summer of 1974 was no exception.  Frank Rizzo, the former Police Commissioner who made his bones as a hardnosed, head-knocking cop, had been elected Mayor, to illustrate just how blue-collar conservative the city was at that point.  Hardly a warm environment for the sort of young person who preferred gold-painted platform shoes.

The hippie movement sputtered to its death in the early third of the decade, and there was a new freak in town, the glitter rock kid.

It can’t be overstated how integral rock music was to the vast majority of youth culture in the first half of the Seventies.  The subgenres that appealed to them may have differed, but only the squarest of the squarest did not have…

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Style on Film: Vertigo

The emerald shawl is everything

Film & Style Matters

Like Jimmy Stewart’s character, I’m a bit obsessed with Kim Novak’s wardrobe and look in the mesmerizing 1958 psychological thriller Vertigo. Appearance is everything in this haunting tale of obsessive love from Alfred Hitchcock – and this black and white ensemble not only reflects the simple elegance of the woman for whom our hero falls; it also suggests her split personality. Novak’s clothes were designed by the great Edith Head – but she had a very specific remit from the notoriously hands-on Hitchcock. Here’s the sumptuous evening gown Madeleine wears – with antique jewellery – when she knows she’ll be seen for the first time by Scottie (Stewart).The redoubtable Edith Head once said: “To be a good designer in Hollywood, one has to be a combination of psychiatrist, artist, fashion designer, dress-maker, pin cushion, historian, nurse maid and purchasing agent too.” For Vertigo, her inner psychiatrist had a good…

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Mike Garson talks about ‘David Bowie Variations’: an Indie Ethos exclusive

Mike Garson – “Bowie Variations”

Independent Ethos

Forget Brian Eno, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. One of David Bowie’smost consistent and important collaborators has been his stalwart keyboardist, Mike Garson. Ever since Bowie’s 1972 tour as Ziggy Stardust, down to his final live performance in 2006, baring a few key albums, Garson has been there, adding a distinct flavor to many of Bowie’s songs. With his abstract, angular improvisations, Garson has helped define the sound of such iconic Bowie tracks going as far back as 1973’s frantic, glitter avalanche that was “Aladdin Sane (1913- 1939- 197?)” to as recent as the spare, atmospheric jazz-inspired number “Bring Me the Disco King,” off Bowie’s last album, 2oo3’s Reality (Support the Independent Ethos, purchase on Amazon).

Ever since he abruptly halted a world tour in support of Reality, in 2004, Bowie quietly sidestepped the spotlight. The catalyst of this slowdown happened on stage in Germany…

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40 years later: Mike Garson recalls what it was like to record ‘Aladdin Sane’ with David Bowie – an Indie Ethos exclusive

Mike Garson talks to Hans Morgenstern about recording “Aladdin Sane” with David Bowie.

Independent Ethos

AladdinSane40thAnniversaryEarlier this week, EMI Records reissued a new remaster of David Bowie’s darker-side-of-glitter follow-up to last year’s 40th Anniversary reissue of the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Aladdin Sane’s 40th Anniversary reissue arrives in simpler CD form, with no DVD audio or vinyl equivalent. But it remains a very interesting moment in the evolution of Bowie.

Though riding an increasingly popular wave of stardom at the time, Bowie had begun to tire of splitting his persona between Ziggy and Bowie. The follow-up album’s fractured portrait, with the so-called “Ziggy Bolt” painted over Bowie’s rosy, if somber, face and the play on “A Lad Insane” in the title belied the amped up sound of a talent in top form.

Inspired by his first U.S. tour for Ziggy Stardust, Bowie had embraced the glamour of L.A. and the seediness of New York for much…

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From the Archives: Mike Garson goes from jazz to Bowie (Part 3 of 5)

Part 3 of 5 of a wonderful series of articles on Mike Garson – From jazz to Bowie

Independent Ethos

As already established in my earlier posts culled from several interviews with Mike Garson for an unpublished piece regarding his contribution to the music of David Bowie from 1972-2006 (Mike Garson talks about ‘David Bowie Variations’: an Indie Ethos exclusive, From the Archives: Mike Garson on working with David Bowie (Part 1), From the Archives: Mike Garson on working with David Bowie, the later years (Part 2)), Garson brought a colorful experience in jazz when Bowie called on him to join the Ziggy Stardust tour. Garson had no experience in rock and no idea who this David Bowie character– with his orange mullet and glitter makeup– was. So how did a classically trained jazz man like Garson wind up being Bowie’s most consistent side man of his career?

During my first interview with Garson, when I met him in 2004, I began our conversation with some questions about his…

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