As a kid, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by all kinds of music. I liked everything from KIZZ to Parliament, George Benson to Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis to Simon & Garfunkel. Then, as a early teen, I was introduced to David Bowie during the Punk/NewWave explosion, and my soul went…WTF? I reached back into the catalog and quickly realized that everyone that was coming out at that time was trying their best to be him. Then Prince went from disco so-so, to what I will always consider, the Black Bowie. I could gravitate to Prince at that time because he looked more like me than Bowie ever could, and it helped me to realize I really didn’t have to be like everyone else, my lunacy had a place in this world. The voices in my head weren’t angels and demons, they were lyrics, or potential lyrics being delivered to me and only me, secretly by Bowie and Prince. They were my interstellar companions giving me the transcripts on how to break free of my surroundings.
Prince lost touch with the intelligent chaos. Right around Purple Rain, Prince turned his back on the informative space people that had earlier visited Bowie. Commercial success embraced Prince and led him on the long slow journey toward innovative irrelevancy. But Bowie. Outside of “Let’s Dance” “Loving The Alien” and an ill-advised duet with Mick Jagger, Bowie never really fully embraced the call of the overwhelmingly vamped, artistically suffocating world of popular top ten commercial success. Instead he embraced the long slow rewarding journey of experimentation and exploration. He invited everyone and anyone willing to embark on a different journey, to come climb aboard and discover the metamorphosis of life right along with him. To change. To be Hero’s. To live life as if it is the Golden Years, while advising to Look Back In Anger at its wondrous Sound And Vision.
Bowie fused Vaudeville and Funk, Rock and Jazz, Classical and Punk, Folk and Soul. He did it all, uniquely. Letter To Hermione, Aladdin sane, The Secret Life Of Arabia, Look Back In Anger, TVC 15. The first time I heard those songs… It’s truly unexplainable. It’s my own personal experience that he transfused me with, to merge his experiences with mine, and carry a piece of his knowledge with me, always. That is what the truly great artist do. They get into your bloodstream so that you pass them on, keeping them alive forever.
I have been lucky enough in life to meet most of my childhood idols. From Sidney Poitier to BB. King and yes, even Prince. But I never had the opportunity to shake hands with my biggest musical inspiration. Yet, I guess for me I will always revel in the next best thing. David Bowie was a big fan of my Uncle.
I’ve gone through my teen years and adult life feeling close to Bowie, maybe even a bit special, because my Birthday and his Birthday are a day apart. Now, he’s gone, just a few days after our shared weekend of celebrating our birth. And I am saddened that he will never again phrase a new lyric.
David Bowie died the way he lived. Without warning, he just changed. Which I guess still makes him, the coolest there ever was.