David Bowie (and Iggy Pop)

[Update: Here's Iggy saying the same thing with less bourbon in him.]

Oh jeeebus. I'm a little drunk, so bear with   me here.

Bowie? Come on, not Bowie. There are so many other peoiple we could give up. I know it's sacrilege, but I'd giv up Prince (PRINCE!) before Bowie. Robert Plant. Keef, even.

I'm not supposed to say this, but yeah, I did meet him. Once.

This was not long after "Let's Dance". We ended up at the same restaurant. I was drinkin g more than I shoud, especially since I was not 21. Bowie was not. He was drinking sparkling water.

I told him that I really liked his stuff, sure, who didn't? So many amazing songs. ZIGGY! "It's not the side effects of the cocaine, I'm thinking that it must be love".

But what I really liked was what he had done with Iggy Pop on "The Idiot": "Funtime" to be exact.

Bowie smiled briefly and said "Jim's my friend, I really liked making that record." We talked some more. About drum sounds and movies and women.

HGere's what I really remember about Bowie; He was a goo dfriend. He helped make Iggy's solo career, with producing his records and stuf.f But if you know anything about Iggy, you know he has struggled to breakthrough to the mainstream and HAVE A HIT (ahven't we all?)

And in the 80s, Ig was having a tough time. No money. Living in NYC and having bad habits will do that to you.

So Bowie says "well, Jim, I'll cover one of your songs on my new record. I need material anyhow."

So he puts "China Girl" on "Let's Dance". Long story short: BIG hit. Bowie gets a "free" hit single, Iggy gets some money. We get Bowie's China Girl, adn everybody wins:

Still, Iggy's hurting. So what does Bowie do on the follow-up to "Let's Dance"? 5 of the 9 songs are either written by Iggy Pop or co-written by Iggy Pop. The album is guaranteed good sales even if it's terrible (it's not terrible, but critics are not kind). It's not exactly charity, as Bowie wasn't writing much, but he could have made more...commercial choices.

And even the record after that, (the also not well-reviewed) "Never Let Me Down", he thro0ws ANOTHER Iggy song on there ("Bang Bang"!, 1987).

And right before that (1986), he uses all of his newfound commercial wisdom (and Duran Duran's drum machines) and produces Iggy's best "pop" record, the oft-overlooked "Blah-Blah-Blah". He sings backup on it (it's obvious when you listen), too (and co-writes some of it)...but he doesn't make a big deal out of it. Because it's Iggy's show, and he wants his friend to succeed on his own terms.

What a friend. What an artist.

I'm super sad.

I'm sad because this genius musician is gone. And I'm sad because he's gone too soon. He just put out a record, had a birthday.

It's hard to believe he didn't really enjoy his life in the last bunch of years, but it seems like he should have had like a decade to just goof off and watch Netflix and play video games or whatever he does for fun. Go see his son's movies. Eat lasagna.

But really? I'm sad because I think about the kind of man Bowie was -- a guy who'd do anything to help his friend make it, and have fun doing it. I wish I had known him more than the records and our brief intersection at that restaurant.

I am sad because I wanted a friend like that. Who wouldn't?

His music said "you're not alone", and when he sang or looked at you with those beautiful eyes, you knew he meant it.

Goodbye. and thank you thank you thank you. Goddamn it.

Well, how come you only want tomorrow
With its promise of something hard to do
A real life adventure worth more than pieces of gold
Blue skies above and sun on your arms 
strength in your stride
And hope in those squeaky clean eyes
You'll get chilly receptions everywhere you go
Blinded with desire I guess the season is on

So you train by shadow boxing, search for the truth
But it's all, but it's all used up
Break open your million dollar weapon
And push your luck, still you push, still you push your luck
A broken nosed mogul
are you one of the new wave boys?

Same old thing in brand new drag comes sweeping into view
As ugly as a teenage millionaire pretending it's a whiz kid world
You'll take me aside, and say

"Well, David, what shall I do? They wait for me in the hallway"
I'll say "don't ask me, I don't know any hallways"

But they move in numbers and they've got me in a corner
I feel like a group of one, no no they can't do this to me
I'm not some piece of teenage wildlife

Those midwives to history put on their bloody robes
The word is that the hunted one is out there on his own
And you're alone for maybe the last time
And you breathe for a long time
Then you howl like a wolf in a trap
And you daren't look behind

You fall to the ground like a leaf from the tree
And look up one time at that vast blue sky
Scream out aloud as they shoot you down
No no, I'm not a piece of teenage wildlife
I'm not a piece of teenage wildlife

And no one will have seen and no one will confess
The fingerprints will prove that you couldn't pass the test
There'll be others on the line filing past, who'll whisper low
I miss you he really had to go well each to his own, he was
Another piece of teenage wildlife
Another piece of teenage wildlife