Man, it's been a rough winter for icons.
First there was rock hero Lemmy, and now music fans the world over are mourning the death of the brilliant pop artist David Bowie, who also passed from cancer. Say, wouldn't it be amazing if -- considering the huge rates of cancer we have in America -- we could band together and demand that a little bit of our taxes be taken away from defense spending and forced directly into pure scientific research to rid us of the scourge of cancer??? Wouldn't that be grand? Oh, who am I kidding? That's far too rational a thought.
Last Friday, I opened my mail and there was a solid black promo CD from Mr. Bowie marked "Blackstar." I threw it on the stereo immediately and have to say, it's the best thing I've heard from him in years. Way to go out on top! This was also something of a parting gift to fans, as his most recent video speaks deeply to his lifelong engagement with art.There will be plenty of time to absorb the new stuff, but today I think people's lifetime memories are taking over . . . so many great songs and performances from Bowie, like this one from the Dick Cavett show -- when he was on his Philly funk/soul kick.
And to those who have been feeling sad all day, and breaking out all their old Bowie albums (got my "Hunky Dory," "Station to Station" and "Diamond Dogs" right here) should know there's a free show tonight by a local Bowie cover band, Life On Mars: A Tribute To David, who are joining Mekong Xpress and Get Fresh Horns at Answer Brewpub at 9:30 (free show).
I spoke with bassist Rusty Farmer, who told me the drummer will be out sick, so they will be missing some backing vocals -- therefor this isn't their usual slick production which also involves changing outfits to the periods of music.
Farmer, 42, has been a Bowie fan since playing the singer's music in high school groups. He says he was shocked when he heard that Bowie passed this morning.
"I think he really kept it a secret . . . in Life After Mars we have a singer (Will Gorman) with a baritone voice so we focus more on the mid-70s and 80s stuff, less on the Ziggy material, though we do some."
A jazz guy, Farmer says he too was stunned by how great the new album sounds.
"You just look who's on that record [Kendrick Lamar is one guest artist]" he says. "He was unbelievable right up until the end."
Farmer adds that currently he is talking to Strangeways Brewing about doing another big Bowie show with all proceeds going to cancer research.