"One day lad, all this will be yours..." DB in the theatre
next door to the Terminus Hotel in Wimbledon.
All pictures on this page taken by Total Blam Blam.
When I live my dream...
The job I have is one that often triggers the question: "Do you ever get blasÃƒÂ© about your contact with David Bowie?" Well, needless to say I don't. Though I guess I've sort of got used to regular e-mail exchanges with David, but, I'm never blasÃƒÂ©...and it's still always a tremendous thrill for me to actually meet him in the flesh.
Today was one of those magical days where I got to spend a bit of time with DB, and I'm pleasantly surprised to note that even at my age, I still walk away from the experience on an incredible high... still buzzing now. I'm also aware of the fact that reports such as this may come over as bragging, or a bit ner, ner, ner, ner, ner. That's not the intention, and the only reason I'm comfortable about writing this is because of all of the congratulatory e-mails I received after my Roseland 2000 journal...so, here I go again.
"You've got to admit it folks, I've got a bloody strong profile!"
Late this morning I got an e-mail from DB inviting me to rehearsals. After a couple of panicked phone calls to re-arrange my day, I grabbed my camera and sped across town to the top secret venue. When I arrived, a familiar voice called me in to a small canteen, where the owner of the voice, and his band and crew were finishing lunch. I sat down next to David and enjoyed an enthusiastic run through the rehearsal set list...
I was gobsmacked! 'Alabama Song', 'Look Back In Anger', 'Moonage Daydream', 'Rebel Rebel', 'Survive', and, wait for it... 'The Bewlay Brothers'. Of course, I thought it was all a wind-up, and that David would produce the real set list later. We chatted on for a little while about recent films, about Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor and London churches... and I couldn't help thinking the whole time that I was looking at the most interesting and beautiful rock 'n roll face of all time.
What can be said about the beautiful and intriguing Jackalope
that hasn't been said already? Absolutely nothing, that's what!
Another thing that strikes me about David is his infectious enthusiasm for everything... A space-age looking Samsonite suitcase, a digital barometer, the chicken pie on the menu...things you'd imagine wouldn't catch the eye of such a well-travelled rock god. But, his acute observational skills are just one of the ingredients that keep his songwriting so fresh. Anyway, I'm waffling now... Onward to the rehearsal space.
After the band wait for me to put my ears in, and a quick introduction to the Jackalope, David says: "Let's do 'Bewlay Brothers' for Blam!" It's kind of hard to express how surreal a moment that was. David Bowie, my hero of thirty years, strumming a twelve string and singing that immortal line: "And so the story goes they wore the clothes..." Apart from the obvious things, like the birth of my children, that is one of the most memorable moments of my life. And it didn't stop there.
"And so the story goes they wore the clothes..."
DB sings 'The Bewlay Brothers' for an audience of one!
Can't remember the exact order, but I also got to hear 'Alabama Song', 'Look Back In Anger', a rather different version of 'Rebel Rebel', 'Survive', 'Hallo Spaceboy', 'Fashion' and more. This band is really cooking at the moment, and I'm further excited by the intro to 'Suffragette City'... But David isn't playing ball. It's clear he's not particularly keen on performing the song, despite taunts from the band.
And then Gail turns to me and suggests: "Why don't you give it a go Blam?" Of course I decline, but then David says: "Yeah go on Blam, you know you want to." So, I think "fuck it", I'm never going to get this opportunity again. I used to do this song regularly with a band I was in, and I'd always loved it anyway... so things could have been worse.
"Oh my god...Blammo's gonna sing...Don't do it son!"
First verse fine... and then it all becomes a bit murky! To cut a long story, I had a bit of a brain-freeze and forgot most of the words, and where the breaks were etc... Anyhow, I managed to stumble my way through to the end while David danced in the stalls like a demented fan, just before he invaded the stage and hugged me in the most bizarre role reversal I have ever experienced... absolutely surreal! The band generously applauded me and even kept a collective straight face while telling me I did a good job.
Gail later told me that she has been trying to get the song in to the set for the last eight years! Hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer, but don't hold your breath if you expect me to take David up on his offer of making it a regular guest spot for me! Despite my reticence, this is actually something I have always dreamed of... singing a Bowie song with his band. Thanx again to David and the band for helping me realise my dream.
"What idiot put superglue on the microphone? Blam!?"
David and the band ended the session by showing me how it's really done with a breathtaking version of 'Moonage Daydream'... Slicky is absolutely superb on this, playing in the usual Earl Slick style with affectionate nods to the original solo. The songs I heard today are not necessarily an indication of anything we can expect to hear in the short term, but it's great to know they are there if needed!
On the drive back home, I sing 'Suffragette City' back over to myself again...word perfect!