It was with extreme sadness and a heavy heart that the news hit us about the death of music legend, David Bowie. As a testament to his greatness, even when facing his own mortality, he still managed to knock out an expansive and edgy album “Blackstar” and release it just 3 days before his passing. What do you say about a man who took creativity, musicality and self-invention to heights never seen before? Personally, I’ve been a fan of Bowie since my teens, and the more I learned about him, the more my respect and admiration grew. I wrote a piece about Bowie in 2009 professing my adulation for his talent, style and artistic courage. I dug up that piece, and thought it was fitting to re-publish it for all of you to read. See it below …
“Bowie is Avant-Garde personified, Creativity crystallized, Style illuminated, Fearlessness exemplified …”
Why do I love David Bowie so much? Hmmm, let me count the ways. You see, coming from the perspective of a person who’s equally crazy about music and personal style, there’s really no better idol you can pick as for your inspiration. With Bowie, there’s no such thing as playing it safe, or following what other musicians or artistes have done. It’s always about treading new ground, and then watching the legions of clones and followers that abound amongst us play catch-up. Do yourself a favor this very moment, and Youtube the acoustic performance of Bowie performing “Space Oddity,” and you’ll see a true master at work. When he sings those classic lyrics, “This is Ground Control to Major Tom, you’ve really made the grade,” and you see how flawlessly he delivers those lines, what you witness is a surreal moment that transcends music or even art. No, this is something way more special, it’s a pocket of pure creativity in its most sublime form.
And then you can fast-forward to his Ziggy Stardust era and just marvel at how completely he enveloped this flashy alter ego. The look was nothing short of brilliant – the striking red hair, the lightning flash make-up across his bony, pale-as-death face, and of course, the lithe androgynous outfits – it’s all so perfect. Whenever I see newer artists like Karen O or MGMT or even Michael Stipe painting their faces with bright colors, I wonder if on some level they’re following the blueprint that Bowie laid out. There’s no wonder that in the early ‘70s, he fit in so well in the backroom of Max’s Kansas City with the likes of other fearless progressives like Warhol and Iggy Pop.
And then just as easily, he reinvented himself again in his minimal-techno Berlin era with the precise electro-funk and synth-infused albums, Low and Station to Station. There’s really no need to circle out any particular LP in Bowie’s discography because they are flashes of genius in all of them.
Bowie is Avant-Garde personified, Creativity crystallized, Style illuminated, Fearlessness exemplified and Art incarnate. You can’t call yourself a musical risk-taker or a truly courageous artiste unless you’ve walked a couple of kilometers in this man’s shoes. That’s why Bowie is a supreme rock god, and will forever be my musical and artistic idol.
Rest In Pieace: The One & Only David Bowie // 08-01-1947 — 10-01-2016