Visconti dashes rumours that Bowie will never play live again

by Jeremy Miles

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David Bowie shortly before his last retirement

As I predicted a couple of days ago reports that David Bowie has said he will never play live again seem to have been somewhat exaggerated.

Amid the Bowie fever whipped up by the surprise release of Where Are We Now?, his first new single in a decade, there have been countless interviews with long-time Bowie producer Tony Visconti.

As the technical guru behind both the single and Bowie’s forthcoming album The Next Day (another bolt from the blue), Visconti has been acting as spokesperson for the Bowie camp.

Various press reports had suggested that though Bowie had emerged from retirement to go into the recording studio, he had indicated that he would never play his new music live. Not so. Visconti has now put the record straight saying that Bowie has simply said he doesn’t want to tour any more and certainly hasn’t ruled out playing a live show. I somehow thought that might be the case.

It’s been interesting hearing Visconti’s account of working with Bowie again. His association with the Thin White Ziggy Tomdust  goes right back to Space Oddity days some 44 years ago. He also produced The Man Who Sold The World, Young Americans and the Berlin trilogy Low, Heroes and Lodger as well as producing The Idiot for Bowie’s friend, collaborator and Berlin flatmate Iggy Pop. So he was perhaps the logical choice for this ‘under-wraps’ comeback project. It took a while apparently with instrumental demo tracks being laid down in the studio and then given to Bowie to mull over, often for months, before a final track was developed. Visconti talks with some glee about walking around Manhattan listening to the new material on headphones, passing people in David Bowie t-shirts and thinking that they’d be amazed to discover what was on his iPod.

It’s an interesting thought but then Tony Visconti is an interesting man. I’ve never actually met him though I did have dinner with his ex-wife once. Many people don’t realise that Mary Hopkin, the  young singer from the Welsh valleys who recorded the 1968 hit Those Were The Days for The Beatles then new Apple label was the first Mrs Visconti and sang on many song’s produced by her husband including material on Bowie Low album. Tony Visconti’s second wife was John Lennon’s former girlfriend May Pang. He’s a well connected man.

 

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