I was listening to Bowie’s “Backstar” on the train ride in this morning, lamenting the fact that I let my complete Bowie discography listen-through project fall by the wayside in 2015 (I made it to 1999’s “Hours…”, and hadn’t yet begun the live album phase). On the flip-side, I am even more glad now that I made an effort to see David Bowie is while it was here at the MCA in Chicago.
All I can say is that it’s… strange when an artist of whom you’ve been a fan for thirty years passes. The closest I ever came to the man was seeing him on the Glass Spider Tour back in ’87, so otherwise he has existed for me only in film and audio.
Yet, there are phases of my life where he had a significant impact, especially when I was first learning to play guitar — “Ziggy Stardust” was a staple back then for us kids into “college rock”. The first bootleg album I ever bought was Bowie. For my sophomore school id card I posed like Bowie did on the cover of “Heroes” — nobody got the reference. I even still have the garish, sleeveless Ziggy t-shirt I bought form Vintage Vinyl on Davis St. in Evanston when I was 14; I wore it at the last show I played before I had my heart attack last year. And just yesterday I was playing with my son while we listened to an Apple Music playlist of “RCA ‘70s rock” which led off with “Panic in Detroit” and then followed with a host of artists all inspired by Bowie in some way.
So, obviously, Bowie’s passing has me saddened, reflective, and appreciative. It also has me thinking about mortality, what we leave behind when we go, and the value of art. And, worst, someone close to me who is right now battling caner.
You were a hero, Thin White Duke. Thank you.