March 31: Bowie confirmed in his online BowieNet journal today that he was in the studio Sunday, March 28 with Placebo to record a song. Tony Visconti helped out on the production, and although Bowie does not name the song, it would seem with Visconti's history of working with Marc Bolan and T-Rex that it is most likely Twentieth Century Boy that was recorded (remember that a stentorious call was made for a charity single to be released after the performance at the Brit Awards). Release can't be far off, because Bowie reported that photographer Frank Ockenfeld was involved, taking "stacks of photos" of Bowie and Placebo in the studio and other locations.
In another teaser note, Bowie indicated that he and Reeves Gabrels were in the studio "putting the finishing touches" on a set of songs due for release "later this year".
Information from BowieNet
March 30: BowieNet, in conjunction with Thomas Dolby's Headspace company, is giving you the chance to produce your own mix of Fame. Using Headspace's brand new Beatnik 2.0 technology, you can mix portions of Bowie's vocal lines together with your own combination of drums, bass, guitars. One reason for Beatnik's high-quality sound (Ed: it is indeed some of the best sound I've heard on the Web) is that it allows samples or loops of MP3-encoded quality sound to be wrapped and distributed interactively in a new format called Rich Music Format (RMF). Only the Beatnik plug-in can decode and play the RMF format.
This feature is available to all Internet users, not just BowieNet subscribers, so if you're a BowieNotter, check it out at the Fame Jam! page. (Ed: I personally was unable to get any sound out of the page, although the Beatnik 2.0 plugin works fine on Headspace's own pages. Your mileage may vary.).
In followup news to an earlier story, Rolling Stone Radio is now broadcasting the David Bowie Network (also known as Channel 13). Bowie personally introduces a selection of 54 songs from the past 5 decades for the online web channel. Of course, you'll need to download the appropriate software from Rolling Stone before you can tune in. (Ed: Note, only Windows 95/98/NT versions of the Rolling Stone channel tuner are currently available, so all we Linux and Mac users are out of luck, although you can listen to Bowie introduce the station in RealAudio).
Information from BowieNet, PRNewsWire
March 30: As hinted at and expected, Bowie was Placebo's special guest at their Irving Plaza, NY concert last night. Bowie joined Placebo for the final two songs, Placebo's own Without You I'm Nothing and T-Rex's Twentieth Century Boy (which they had previously performed at the Brit Awards. (Ed: I would try and put a picture up, but RealPlayer and Broadcast.com's quality was even more abysmal than usual.).
If you're interested in hearing more of Placebo, consider buying one of their albums at CDNow.
March 29: The usual Internet suspect, congestion, contributed to a less than stellar chat, but here's a few pictures and comments from today's Bowie and Placebo chat.
On the question of whether Bowie would show up on stage tonight at Placebo's concert, Bowie answered "I could go and sing with them. You never know, do you?", and Brian Molko concurred, "You never know what could happen". Bowie made numerous comments and gave anecdotes about some of his life, including his meeting with Burroughs in the 70s, and an interesting story on Brian Eno and decision making.
Bowie: Brian Eno used to talk about making decisions. I was always fascinated by having decisions made for you. He had this thing going when we worked in Berlin. He would take out a map of Berlin, count out the spare change he had in his pocket, then a compass, and he would make a big circle that was directed by the amount of change that we had: how far that would allow us to go on the subway. He'd pick an arbitrary point on the circumference of the circle, then we'd go and spend the day there. So there was some amount of decision-making removed from your life. I did that once, and ended up with Tin Machine. I'll never do that again!
On the subject of influential new bands, Brian noted "We hardly listen to rock anymore, we listen to Aphex Twin, Joy, Talvin Singh, DJ Shaadow.", to which Bowie replied, " I hope that Squeakie out there realises that Placebo are Aphex Twin fans".
March 29: Whatever happened to Zowie Bowie? Well, Zowie may have long ago given up the name given him by his parents, but a toy company in California has decided to take on the moniker. Zowie Intertainment (Ed: yes, that's how they spell it), a California-based startup is expected to have one of the hottest selling toys in 1999, according to this article in the San Jose Mercury News.
The Zowie Playzone combines physical toys with virtual complements. When children manipulate play figures such as pirates or Muppets, they trigger activity on a PC screen. In Ellie's Enchanted Garden, for instance, girls synchronize a handheld character with an on-screen jump-rope. The Zowie Playzones aren't slated to be released until the latter half of 1999, at the earliest, but toy analysts are already crediting the company with creating a new toy category.
March 28: Graduating for Bowie won't be a simple matter of walking across the stage, shaking a hand and getting capped. Sonicnet reports that Dr. Bowie will also be the principal speaker at Berklee School of Music's graduation ceremony to be held May 8th in the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. It won't quite be the same sort of audience for whom he usually performs, but over 600 graduates and 3,000 parents/friends/family will be in attendance to hear the Thin White Duke give the customary inspirational speech to new graduates.
Information from SonicNet, David, Alyssa, Little WonderWorld
March 26: BowieArt.com is supposed to have a limited edition postcard pack of the following four Bowie self-portraits on sale today (Ed: As of midday GMT, they weren't listed for sale). The portraits were painted in 1996.
Information from BowieNet
March 24: In a followup to the Placebo chat, SonicNet will also have a live cybercast of Placebo's concert that evening, live from Irving Plaza in New York City. The show will start at Monday, March 29, 8:30 p.m. ET. You can access the broadcast from the SonicNet Channels page. In the epilogue of SonicNet's announcement, they note:
Fresh off the success of their new album "Without You I'm Nothing," Placebo take their awe-inspiring stage show to New York's Irving Plaza for a live webcast, just possibly with a Certain Surprise Guest.
We can't claim any inside knowledge, but the teaser, the coincidence of the two events, and Bowie's appearance at the Brit Awards all points to something - you may want to watch the broadcast if you can.
March 24: BowieNet, in conjunction with SonicNet, is holding a public video cybercast (no BowieNet membership required!!) with Placebo, hosted and moderated by Bowie this coming Monday, March 29 at 2 p.m. ET. Placebo, as readers are no doubt aware started their association with Bowie on the European leg of the Outside Tour, and most recently performed the 20th Century Boy duet at the Brit Awards. You can submit advance questions at BowieNet and be automatically registered for "special prizes" (although no mention of this was available on BowieNet at press time).
Placebo with host David Bowie
Monday, March 29, 2:00 p.m. (ET), 11:00 a.m. (PT)
Information from SonicNet
March 22: Shawn Mullins, who covered Bowie's Changes for the soundtrack to The Faculty may have had more Bowie on his mind when writing his album Soul's Core. An Irish DJ recently played just Mullins' vocals to his hit song "Lullaby" along with the backing of none other than Bowie's own Ziggy Stardust. In many parts, it is obvious that the two bear more than a passing resemblance, with the guitar riff for Ziggy Stardust being the kicker. Coincidence??
In other music related news on the web, CDNow and Music Boulevard have now completed their merger to fight the mighty Amazon, and are holding a storewide sale until April 1.
Information from Dara
March 19: Last Sunday the international David Bowie fanclub "The Voyeur" held its annual fanmeeting in De Meern in Holland. After the doors opened fans rushed to the stalls of merchandise to get rare Bowie items. Dealers from Holland and England brought a lot of Bowie material, while fans from Holland, England, France, Germany and Belgium made the trek. One of the highlights of the exhibition was an original Bowie hat which Bowie wore in the mid-70s. The Rotterdam-based band "The Madmen" played two sets, including a bevy of Bowie songs.
For more pictures and report on the event, visit The Voyeur web site.
Information from Ludo
March 17: Airlines are jacking up the prices for those planning to attend the Gisborne 2000 Millennium concert where Bowie will be the featured performer. In this article published in the New Zealand Sunday Star last weekend, it was revealed that prices have in some cases as much as doubled for those making the trip from the UK to New Zealand in time for the year 2000 celebration. If you're still planning on making your own way, put aside some time for making lots of phone calls to find the cheapest rate. (Ed: prices quoted in the article are $NZ. $NZ1 = $US0.54)
Information from Trevor
March 17: The concert video of Space Oddity as performed by Bowie at his 50th Birthday Bash will temporarily be made available to a wider audience when it's included on 10,000 copies of a HyperLock CD in the latest issue of Variety magazine. It's all part of a promotion by The Hollywood Stock Exchange and HyperLOCK to promote the Academy Awards held this coming week. The CD is primarily designed to feature clips from the Academy Award nominated movies this year, all protected against piracy using the HyperLOCK CD technology.
According to the press release, the Space Oddity video may only be available for viewing on March 21, and with only 10,000 copies, finding an issue of Variety with the disc may be difficult. Caveat emptor.
Information from Bonster
March 16: Teenage Wildlifer Baby Grace is emerging into adulthood with her 18th birthday/high school graduation party to be held May 15th from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. There will be four rooms:
Who's invited? Anyone who emails Baby Grace and expresses an interest. Age doesn't matter. Invitations with directions nearer the date will be mailed to those who wish to attend.
Information from Baby Grace
March 14: Richard Barone, best known for his band The Bongos from the 80s, is the unlikely source of some new information about unreleased Bowie tracks, Mother and Skylife. (Mother is the John Lennon cover which Bowie recorded last year for a tribute album which now looks likely to be released next year on the anniversary of what would have been Lennon's 60th birthday, while Skylife is the track recorded and then later cut from the Rugrats soundtrack.)
On his personal web page, Barone notes that he sang multitracked harmonies on both songs which were produced by Tony Visconti. For the Skylife track, Visconti and Bowie employed Reeves Gabrels on guitar, Clem Burke on drums, as well as a 24-piece string section (Ed: shades of Wild-Eyed Boy).
It's unfortunate that this Skylife track now seems to be in limbo. Perhaps it's a candidate for an obscure B-side release on a single from the upcoming Bowie album, since both will emply the Visconti touch.
Information from babel
March 12: Bowie made a guest appearance last night on the BBC's Comic Relief show as part of the Red Nose Day charity events to raise money to fight poverty in the UK and Africa. The segment went as follows:
David Bowie appears on camera
"Hello boys and girls, erm... I'm David Bowie and... I'm talking to you for Comic Relief. Tonight I thought I'd do something a little bit different so I'm gonna play a new composition for you, erm... that I think you may enjoy. It's called 'Requiem For A Laughing Gnome'. It's for recorder and erm... it has some choreography that was... erm... I picked up from an Navaho Indian erm... that I met last week in the Croydon chapter. It's in four movements, probably I should begin with the first one. Thank you."
David starts playing the recorder, stamps his feet and shuffles them on the floor. A message appears on the screen - 'THIS LASTS 4 HOURS'
David stops playing and says in a Northern English accent:
"Aww put your clothes on Sooty."
David continues playing... another message appears: 'WE'LL GO ON SHOWING IT IF YOU DON'T CALL'. David winks. More messages appear. PLEASE... PLEASE... PLEASE! David finishes playing and looking reflective says:
"So long ago."
Final message 'THANK YOU'. David says"Thank you."
Thanks to Little Wonderworld for the report, and Don and Spidey for the video snaps!
Information from Little Wonderworld and Don and Spidey
March 12: The Rupert Goldsworthy Gallery in New York is apparently entertaining the idea of a follow-up event to its successful "Bowie" art show held in January. A Teenage Wildlifer watching a show on Manhattan public access television saw reference to a "Bowie2000" art event, which would feature over 2000 pieces of Bowie-related art in a huge exhibition to coincide with the millennium. While there's no official word yet on whether the project will come to fruition, we hope to hear more about this in the next couple of months.
Information from Shaun and peanut
March 11: Andy Stewart's BowieNews newsletter reports that Bowie, Reeves Gabrels, and Jason Cooper of the Cure have recently recorded a track for the console game company, EIDOS, to be used in the soundtrack for a forthcoming CD-ROM game. Final mixing of the track is said to occur in New York, and the work may even be later fleshed into a full album along the lines of The Buddha of Suburbia soundtrack.
Readers with good memories will remember that Bowie and Iman were spotted at Eidos' headquarters last year. Cooper and Gabrels know each other from their work together as Cogasm for the Orgazmo soundtrack. This may also explain why Reeves was also in London and spotted at the Brit Awards with Bowie.
Information from Andy Stewart
March 11: The headline some thought would never be seen again has now been confirmed by Billboard Music News. In a conversation with Tony Visconti, Visconti confirms that he and Bowie are headed back into the studio this month to record a full album for the first time in 20 years. In an interesting comment, Visconti says he expects to record material that will "hearken back to their earliest collaborations, such as The Man Who Sold The World and Low."
Information from Rob and Helen2
March 9: The April edition of Jane magazine has a humorous prank involving David Bowie, where they call various music industry people and ask the question: "If David Bowie were trying to get a record deal today, would he get signed". (Ed: Of course, the joke may be on Jane magazine, since they may not know that Bowie was indeed unable to get a major record label signing with most of his 1960's output)
Information from LutinNoire
March 9: Yahoo! Internet Life has a cover and feature article on Bowie and the World Wide Web in their April edition. Titled The Thin Wired Duke, it includes an interview and new photos. Amongst the snippets in the interview is another claim of two new albums this year. (Ed: We'll see :))
Unfortunately, the article isn't available for online viewing at the magazine's web site, so you'll have to go out and buy this one.
Information from Raven
March 8: The Berklee College of Music will confer an honorary doctorate degree on David Bowie for his contribution to music in their Spring commencement ceremony. Recipients must have made contributions with "enduring qualities that define the musical era in which they played a leading role". You can see a list of past recipients at Berklee's web page. Berklee is considered to be one of the most prestigious schools of music in the USA. (Reeves Gabrels was educated at Berklee).
Thanks to BowieNet for breaking this news.
Information from BowieNet
March 8: Volume #2 of Goth Oddity will be called Dark Vision, and is set to be released later this year. Like the first album, this will be a collection of covers by well known goth-genre bands. This will be the third gothic Bowie cover release in the past year, joining the rare (but very good) The Dark Side of David Bowie.
Information from Tony
March 5: A demonstration by federal blue collar workers outside Montreal's LeClerc prison got out of hand yesterday when a van carrying two prison employees taking pictures of the 500 demonstrators was flipped over. No injuries were reported. This otherwise routine news report on Montreal's TV station CFCF 12 added the following note:
"Rockstar David Bowie was filming a video in the prison at the time, but the filming was not interupted by the dispute.
So what was Bowie doing filming inside the prison? It's almost certainly the production of the cable television series The Hunger which we reported last year would be filmed in Montreal.
Here's the full story from The Montreal Gazette.
Information from Jess
March 4: Hope you didn't ingest too much of that mountain of salt on the 2. Contamination track listing story. As indicated in the original story, we were awaiting a followup from the source to verify their authenticity. Based on our followups, we can now say that while the source may believe what they reported, there is no reliable basis for believing any of the information posted in that report. Apologies for the interruption in your rumour milling.
"Now you can learn all about Mike and his unique approach to composing. Plus, you can listen to samples of his rock, jazz and classical work and buy his solo CDs. "
If you've ever been intrigued by the man who played the "potty piano" on Aladdin Sane, here's your chance to listen to some of his other work and learn about his unique improvisational technique.
Information from Now! Music
March 3: Prince has rapidly developed a reputation as the most antagonistic artist towards Internet fan sites. SonicNet reports that his latest action invokes a lawsuit against one of his longtime fanzines Uptown for "irreparable harm" by using his photograph in print and online, along with the unpronounceable symbol to which the former Prince changed his name in 1993. Prince is seeking damages as well as injunctions to take down the "Uptown" website and halt publication of the fanzine and related books.
The Prince Internet world seems to have divided itself into those who run their unofficial sites, and a group of twelve former fansite webmasters who now run Prince's official site Love 4 One Another. The SonicNet story is interesting reading for those who appreciate the availability of non-official fan sites on the Internet.
Information from SonicNet
March 3: This story needs to be taken with a mountain of salt rather than the proverbial grain, but an anonymous email message came into Teenage Wildlife's mailbox last night claiming to have the tentative track-listing of 2. Contamination, the followup album to 1. Outside. Claiming that the CD will be out by the end of the summer, the correspondent listed the following tracks:
Some of these track names sound plausible given Bowie's claim in the past that one of the followup albums to Outside would be based on 17th century pirates. However we've never been contacted before by this particular source (so they have no history), and the message came from an inscrutable hotmail account. We're asking for more supporting details, but until then, you be the judge...
Information from Anonymous
March 2: The questions over the origin of the "live" Fun track recently posted to BowieNet's liveandwell.com section have prompted an official response. If you'll recall, Teenage Wildlifers wrote in after listening to the new track to say that while liveandwell.com lists it as being recorded live at Paradiso, June 10 1997, many who were at the concert and those who have bootleg copies of the tape indicate that no such song was ever played before the audience at Paradiso.
The official response is that those sharp-eared listeners were indeed correct. The recently posted track is in fact a hybrid remix of the beginning of the d'n'b instrumental Is It Any Wonder played live at Paradiso combined with additional vocals and instruments recorded later in a studio. This explains why the beginning of the song contains the customary live audience noise, but they are conspicuously silent at the end of the track.
It appears that this track may have been intended as a bonus track for the once-rumoured Earthling Live CD release which has now become liveandwell.com. One question remains as to where and when the studio work was recorded. According to one reader, Bowie and band went into the studio midway through the European tour (possibly at Sono Studios after the Prague concert??) and recorded two songs. One a version of Outside with Gail-Ann Dorsey on vocals and the other a twelve minute heavily sampled work. Perhaps it's this latter recording which has now seen the light of day in this version of "Fun". The shorter version of this track which appears on the BowieNet HyperCD is probably yet another version recorded in 1998.
Thanks to all those collectors who wrote in regarding the origin of this rare Bowie track.
Information from Cliff
March 2: Today marks the official release of Bowie's 1983 Serious Moonlight Tour video on DVD. If you've been holding off paying outrageous sums for the Japanese laserdisc import, you might want to check out the new DVD version from Amazon.com.
One reader who has already received the DVD noted that the sound quality of this 15 year old concert is not as good as the 50th Birthday Concert on pay-per-view.
Information from Bob
March 1: The March 1999 Teenage Wildlife CD drawing was held last night and "Mouse" from The Netherlands was the winner from over 1040 visible profiles. She decided to choose Buddy Guy's Heavy Love CD as her free gift from CD-Now. Remember, if you want to be entered in the giveaway, you must be: