“Heaven loves ya, The clouds part for ya...”
(ANCIANT = A New Career In A New Town)
This is the second instalment of our album focus on David Bowie’s Lodger.
Here follows an excerpt from an old UNCUT interview with David about the confusingly named Berlin Trilogy. This snippet is from the part regarding Lodger. UNCUT never published the full interview, but you can read the unedited version of it here.
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UNCUT: An album which really divides Bowie fans - it is either devout love or total indifference. Can you understand both reactions?
Bowie: I think Tony and I would both agree that we didn't take enough care mixing. This had a lot to do with my being distracted by personal events in my life and I think Tony lost heart a little because it never came together as easily as both Low and Heroes had. I would still maintain though that there are a number of really important ideas on Lodger. If I had more time I would explore them for you…but…you can probably pick them out as easily.
UNCUT: Moving away from pure electronic sounds - was this a deliberate strategy to stay ahead of the synthesizercopycat bands who were busy aping 'Low' and "Heroes"?
Bowie: I think it's the lack of instrumentals that give you the impression that our process was different. It really wasn't. It was a lot more mischievous though. Brian and I did play a number of 'art pranks' on the band. They really didn't go down too well though. Especially with Carlos who tends to be quite 'grand'.
UNCUT: Was the backwards tape of 'All The Young Dudes' for 'Move On' originally an accident? And does this song have any connection to the unfinished Iggy collaboration 'Moving On'?
Bowie: Not really an accident but I did stumble upon it. I had put one of my reel to reel tapes on backwards by mistake and really quite liked the melody it created. So I played quite a few more in this fashion and chose five or six that were really quite compelling. Dudes was the only one to make the album, as I didn't want to abandon the 'normal' writing I was doing completely. But it was a worthwhile exercise in my mind. It has the same title as the song I wrote for Iggy. But as the one for Jim was a working title, I passed it onto the Lodger song.
UNCUT: The final refrain in 'Red Money' - "project cancelled". Is this significant? A curtain being drawn on the Eno triptych?
Bowie: Not at all. Mere whimsy.
UNCUT: What is 'cricket menace'?
Bowie: Little crickety sounds that Brian produced from a combination of my drum machine (I would, and still do, use one to write with when I'm on my own) and his 'briefcase' synth. You can hear them on African Nightflight.
UNCUT: Moving to New York - had Berlin served its purpose? Was New York chosen for musical reasons?
Bowie: It was an irreplaceable, unmissable experience and probably the happiest time in my life up until that point. Coco, Jim and I had so many great times. But I just can't express the feeling of freedom I felt there. Some days the three of us would jump into the car and drive like crazy through East Germany and head down to the Black Forest, stopping off at any small village that caught our eye. Just go for days at a time. Or we'd take long all afternoon lunches at the Wannsee on winter days. The place had a glass roof and was surrounded by trees and still exuded an atmosphere of the long gone Berlin of the twenties. At night we'd hang with the intellectuals and beats at the Exile restaurant in Kreutzberg. In the back they had this smoky room with a billiard table and it was sort of like another living room except the company was always changing.
Sometimes we'd go shopping at KaDeWe, the giant department store in the Centre of West Berlin, which had the hugest food counters anyone could imagine with displays that are only imaginable in a country which either must have been seriously deprived of food at one time or where the populace just plain likes to eat a lot. We'd stock up occasionally on what felt like luxuries at the time like chocolates or a small tin of caviar. One day, while we were out, Jim had come in and ate everything in the fridge we had spent all morning shopping for. It was one of the few times that Co and I were truly mad at him. I could write a lot more on all this…but.
I had not intended to leave Berlin, I just drifted away. Maybe I was getting better. Jim decided to stay on a while longer as he had pretty much hitched up with a girl he'd met there and had by now gotten his own apartment, next door to ours. Then Elephant Man came up, which caused me to be in the US for a considerable spell. Then Berlin was …over.
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LODGER FACT FILE:
Working Titles: Planned Accidents and Despite Straight Lines
Released in the UK as RCA PL 13254 on 18th May, 1979.
Peak UK chart position: #4
Peak US chart position: #20
1. FANTASTIC VOYAGE
2. AFRICAN NIGHT FLIGHT
3. MOVE ON
4. YASSASSIN (TURKISH FOR: LONG LIVE)
5. RED SAILS
2. LOOK BACK IN ANGER
3. BOYS KEEP SWINGING
5. RED MONEY
Bonus tracks on 1991 RykoDisc reissue:
I Pray, Olé (Previously unreleased track recorded 1979)
Look Back In Anger (New version recorded 1988)
Original UK Singles:
Boys Keep Swinging/Fantastic Voyage - released April 1979 - (Peak UK chart position: #7)
D.J./Repetition released - June 1979 - (Including limited edition green vinyl) (Peak UK chart position: #29)
Significant non UK Singles:
Boys Keep Swinging/Fantastic Voyage - released April 1979 - (Spain only promo picture disc - First official Bowie 7" picture disc)
Yassassin/Repetition - released July 1979 - (Netherlands)
Yassassin/Red Money - released July 1979 - (Turkey)
Look Back In Anger/Repetition - released August 1979 - (North America)
Pictured in our montage clockwise from top left: UK Lodger front cover, UK limited edition D.J. green vinyl single, Yassassin Turkish picture sleeve, Yassassin Netherlands picture sleeve, Boys Keep Swinging, Spanish promo picture disc.
Videos were made for Boys Keep Swinging, D.J. and Look Back In Anger.
All lyrics written by DAVID BOWIE.
All music written by DAVID BOWIE and BRIAN ENO except:
‘MOVE ON’, ‘YASSASSIN’ and ‘REPETITION’ written by DAVID BOWIE
‘D.J.’ written by DAVID BOWIE, BRIAN ENO and CARLOS ALOMAR
‘RED MONEY’ written by DAVID BOWIE and CARLOS ALOMAR
Produced by DAVID BOWIE and TONY VISCONTI.
Recorded at MOUNTAIN STUDIOS, MONTREUX, SWITZERLAND, September, 1978 and March, 1979.
Engineers – TONY VISCONTI and DAVID RICHARDS.
Assistant engineer – EUGENE CHAPLIN.
Mixed at RECORD PLANT STUDIOS, NEW YORK CITY.
Engineers – TONY VISCONTI and ROD O’BRIEN.
Assistant engineer – GREG CARUSO.
Listen to the original Lodger on the official David Bowie: A New Career In A New Town playlist.
Pre-order ANCIANT here: https://lnk.to/ANCIANTMP
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