Who Is He Now? The Return of David Bowie

Last September the Victoria and Albert Museum in London announced an exhibition retrospective of David Bowie. My first reaction was that the always-clever businessman Bowie would not miss the opportunity to expand upon this with some elder statesman product. Guess what? Here comes David Bowie. His quietly anthemic single Where Are We Now? landed gently on the Internet to commemorate his 66th turn around the sun.

The Return of David Bowie
Ten years between releases allowed a warehouse of rumors. The inevitable death or dying was batted around, the old recovering from plastic surgery (never a bad guess), the “he’s pulled a John Lennon and gone house-dad,” a friend speculated. The official statement surfacing consistently was Mr. Bowie wants to spend time with his young daughter, so the Lennon idea was pretty close.

Well, anyway, he’s back. I like the new single and look forward to hearing the whole disc. The secrecy surrounding the two-year project is up there with the illuminati shroud. No one slipped up. Bowie collaborating guitarist Earl Slick had a 14-page spread in Guitar Player and never dropped a hint. England’s royals don’t have that sort of loyalty, but then again Bowie probably pays better.

The return of iconic rock elders is always met with excitement and trepidation. (I’m looking at you Sir Paul.) It won’t be the return of Ziggy Stardust, but in a long career with only a few really low points (Never Let Me Down and Black Tie White Noise being the stickiest wickets), Bowie will undoubtedly give us something better than the current chart offerings and maybe something good enough to show up in a car commercial.

The return of iconic rock elders is always met with excitement and trepidation.

Now the speculation turns to “Will he play any live shows?” Already a buzz points to England’s Glastonbury Festival in June as a likely landing site for the latest incarnation of the old white duke. After at least 16 character manifestations, who will he be this time? My money is on the stately artistic persona, charming the whatevers off anyone within ear and eyeshot on the talk show circuit. He could go for shows in a few nerve centers such as London, Paris, and New York, or he might he go less predictable with Istanbul, Zurich, and Reykjavik.

I’d love to see a well-directed concert film a la Martin Scorsese and the The Rolling Stones make the rounds or even better, some Tupacian holo-Bowie with a live band, like he’s beamed in from off planet. We’ll get something you can bet, because the art of business is a strong suit for our Dave.

Hours after “Where Are We Now?” popped up on the Internet one Nicholas Currie, aka Momus, marked the occasion by offering a cover version. Adding a chilly symphonic elegance to his arrangement and setting it to the video of Roddy McDowall being made up as Cornelius for Planet of the Apes.

The homage/pastiche is so perfectly rendered that I contacted Momus suggesting that in lieu of an official Bowie tour in support of new disc The Next Day, (released worldwide in March), he should offer to hit the road with a cover show of the entire album. He responded with the idea Bowmus Does Glastonbury, surely a joke, but I’m certain the wheels are turning. After all, Momus is the guiltiest ever of being dead clever. (He was once famously sued by trans-gendered synthesizer icon Wendy Carlos for a song called “Walter Carlos” (her birth name) in which Wendy time-travels back to marry her pre-re-gendered self.)

The cover concert is well established, from Phish to Flaming Lips, and Momus, backed by the Bowie Machine (Tin or otherwise) could be the dawning of a new sort of torch passing. Going “Fauxie” instead of Bowie might just be genius and probably wouldn’t involve selling a kidney for the ticket price.

Momus’ latest release is MOMUSMCCLYMONT out this month on Darla.

Rick Morris was once the arbiter behind the bar at Asheville’s preeminent punk rock think-tank, Vincent’s Ear, where he pushed his would-be cognoscenti ideals on anyone in earshot. While in Asheville, Rick has been a rock ‘n’ roll drummer-singer, a front-man for a funk-rock extravaganza, a boy back-up singer for a female band, an improvising guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist, and even held forth with a singer-songwriter set once. Music is his life-blood and he keeps it transfusing constantly.