Those of you who know me know that as a music fan, I’ve a passionate nature about the musicians who’ve created such brilliance and have enhanced my life so profoundly over the years.
So many people have written about the passing of David Bowie. I feel that there’s likely nothing that I can say that would ever compare to the writings of these writers. Still, with the addition of Lemmy from Motorhead and Hawkwind, and Glenn Frey most notably of the Eagles, as well as the great Dallas Taylor the drummer for CSN&Y, I find myself compelled to express my sadness as well as my appreciation for all these guys have meant to me, and all they’ve given to the world.
Glenn Frey both with the Eagles and in his solo career has created some indelible melodies and wonderful lyrics that have resonated over decades. He helped to create a mode at the outset of the California sound. Along with luminaries like Jackson Browne, the entire world was changed. These singer/songwriter artists made the world take listen to a new sensitivity in rock and roll. This was a sea change in the type of music we were hearing in the early seventies. RIP, Glenn.
Lemmy or Ian Kilmister, a huge influence on heavy metal. He started his career as a roadie and guitar tech for Jimi Hendrix and soon joined a band called Hawkwind, which really heralded a progressive space rock. Later, he founded Motorhead who’s name came from a Hawkwind song. Aside from his prodigious skill on the Bass, he was a known collector of German WWII paraphernalia. Though he certainly didn’t follow Nazi philosophy. His bass playing was notable for having derived most directly from his guitar background, notable for double stops and many chording structures that set him apart. The world will miss you, Lemmy.
Dallas Taylor was another key component to the California sound. He appeared on two of the most significant albums of the early seventies the debut from Crosby Stills and Nash, and the follow-up including Neil Young: Déjà Vu. Later he went on to play with Steven Stills, Van Morrison, and Paul Butterfield’s Blues Band. An influential drummer, he was known as a truly consistent timekeeper and a really nice guy. Thank you, and rest in peace, Dallas.
But, David Bowie is the death that will effect me for years to come. “The Thin White Duke” created melodies and sounds that not only defined the times, but also created entire genre of music. He took his influences from everywhere that he went. Places like New York and Berlin effected his output. Motown, Pink Floyd and others held appeal to him, and he was quite happy to incorporate some of these sounds, as well as create new ones. His pursuit of excellence was well known, and his willingness to not stop until the project was finished is a cornerstone of his both long career, and his reinvention of himself as characters, and his gender bending persona were trademarks. He was willing to perform with practically anyone, and collaborated with many of the key creative influences in the business. I’m particularly fond of the output he made with Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. He was noted for both promoting and utilizing some of the greatest lead guitarists of the day as well. I first saw Adrian Belew perform as Bowie’s lead guitarist in the early 90’s. I also had the rare opportunity in high school to see him perform in the play The Elephant Man in Chicago and was completely moved by his work. He was an astounding and self-effacing artist who never rested on his laurels as a musician, or an actor. To me, he defined avant garde. David Bowie, Rest in Peace.
Oddly, the one thing that made me feel better as I lamented the loss of David Bowie was listening to another artist who left us too early. Lou Reed, a genius in his own right, who’s loss also effected me profoundly made me feel somewhat better when listening to the New York release last week.
It seems that I’m living in a time where my heroes (no pun intended) are moving on. I am saddened that these greats have gone, and yet I revel in the output they’ve created. I hope to revel in the joy of their music rather than dwell too much on their losses.