¡Mamacita! I was aware that the “David Bowie Is” exhibition will be making a US stop in Chicago this fall [in the only scheduled US stop through at least 2016], but what I was blithely unaware of was the supersalient fact that Mr. Bryan Ferry was giving a talk on the subject of Mr. David Bowie at Chicago’s Museum Of Contemporary Art a week or so prior to the David Bowie Is show opening on September 23rd! It fell to my wife, who I am deeply indebted to in more ways than I can count, to make me aware of this red letter fact. If there’s one thing I have learned by attending Moogfest it’s that panel discussions with iconic musicians can often be even more rewarding than their performances. [In the case of Brian Eno – don’t hold your breath for any performances]
While the dynamic continuum between the twin axes of Ferry/Bowie have informed most of the music that I have enjoyed in this life, the two artists have been linked in many ways. I always thought that Bowie must have been blindsided by the appearance of Bryan Ferry, fully formed as though from the head of Zeus with the dazzling, multifaceted art of the debut Roxy Music album. Ferry had seemingly appeared from nowhere with an achievement that still stands the test of time for audacious artistic reach and overall game changing. While Bowie had slogged away for nearly a decade before winning his hard-fought spoils of fame, Ferry opened the door and walked through in months.
It bears mentioning that Ferry came to the game with a head full of ideas nurtured by his tutelage under pop artist Richard Hamilton at University. So when it came time for him to make his move, he had a coherent worldview forged in the flames of academia. Bowie had skipped University and while intelligent and auto-didactic, it was a much harder game for him to reach those heights. When he finally cracked the market with the not-facile construct of Ziggy Stardust, he did the sensible thing and obtained the talents of Roxy Music as an opening act on his triumphant British tour since: 1) reflected the wise move of forever associating himself with Bryan Ferry and 2) it’s good practice to keep potential rivals close at hand.
Of course, Brian Eno was the tie that bound both Ferry and Bowie by adding his potent element X to both of their finest works. So it’s not without substantial interest that I would love to hear Ferry discussing the art of David Bowie. He will not be alone at the podium. British author Michael Bracewell, the author of no less than four books on the subject of Roxy Music in addition to his numerous other fiction/non-fiction works will be joining Ferry in the discussion. Tickets are available for a pittance here, and though it pains me to know that there’s no way that I can attend this event, for those in the Second City reading these words, attendance is a no-brainer. Tickets are not on sale yet, but expect them to fly out of the [virtual] box office when that day comes. Then, on the 21st of September, Ferry will play a concert in Chicago at the Chicago Theatre, capping off a week spent in his favorite US city.
– 30 –
Yeah, as impressive as Roxy’s debut was, I’m always fascinated by the fact that Mr. Ferry auditioned for King Crimson in 1970 and was rejected. I wonder if in some parallel universe he was asked to join. Where would that have gone…
Brian Ware – I would imagine like all other KC lineups of that era; not very far at all! Thank goodness that he didn’t get pulled into the King Crimson drama! If that had happened, Ferry might have ended a footnote of Rock with about as much pull today as Boz Burrell! He had so much more to give.
Hell, where would Eno have been? Without him, the best Bowie albums would never have existed! Let us give thanks for the history we got served in this dimension!
Hard to imagine there would have been a New Wave, and especially New Romanticism, without their main progenitors- Bowie and Ferry. So many 80s bands modeled much of their sound after these GLAMour Twins. Psych Furs, Icehouse, Duran2, Numan, Spandau… seems anyone who picked up a synth in the 80s was trying to be one of them if not both!
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Orange County DJ – You said a mouthful, sir! When Brian Ware mused what would have happened if King Crimson had given Ferry the green light as singer after his audition in 1970, I very quickly extrapolated mentally about how much of my collection would have never existed! Even Bowie would not have reached his fullest potential without the spur of Roxy much less the participation of Eno. Eno might have been an academic all along.
The elements of Bowie, Ferry and Eno are musical Higgs Boson particles in the chaos of Rock & Roll that began in the 1970’s. With the 60’s done with, popular music was up for grabs and these three succeeded in grabbing more than most and propelling their visions into the next 40 odd years.
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Echorich – “The Higgs Boson particles of Rock & Roll!” Poetry, Echorich. You are a master of metaphor. And chicks dig-dig d-i-g dig dig metaphor!
Dammit Echorich! I was halfway through making a “Gödel Escher Bach” parody cover when you stole my thunder! But perhaps I can still have the last laugh! Haha HA hahaha! For I happen to already be in Chicago while the exhibit is there (not in the time frame Mr Ferry will be there, sadly, but still)!! Hoo HAH!
Er, please read that penultimate sentence as “For I, by happenstance, will be in Chicago” etc.