Monday, January 11, 2016
David Bowie and the Pat Metheny Group This Is Not America Single EMI 1985
Further proof that Pat Metheny's skills are not to be scoffed at. He collaborated with one of the most admired pop-stars of all time, David Bowie. Metheny did soundtrack work for the 1985 John Schlesinger film, The Falcon and the Snowman. I don't have the album, yet, but I do have this single featuring David Bowie on vocals.
The song is cool, it's got Bowie's signature vocals and Metheny noodling around on guitars and synths. When I finally got around to this release, I had grandiose plans to discuss how cool Kansas City can be. Here's this jazz guitarist from Lee's Summit with enough clout to get the most stylish rock star of a generation (lifetime) to work with him. Then Bowie died, and now I just want to talk about how much I love David Bowie.
I've always been really attached to music, it's something that always brought a smile to my face, it's always helped me through tough times and helped make the good times better. My earliest memories are of me sitting in the back seat of the family station wagon and notifying my parents whenever a Beatles track came on the radio. I was proud of being right, at least they always told me I was. As I got older, the love for music just became stronger, I started to notice that sometimes (often) my enthusiasm for it wasn't the same as everyone else's. To this day, my closest friends are those who share the same enthusiasm for music.
Somewhere around 3rd or 4th Grade, I think my mom started to realize I was seeking out things that were different. Challenging myself to seek out music that wasn't on the radio, the deep cuts. I started digging through my parent's LP collection trying to find something new for me to get into. My mom pulled out a beat up copy (all my parents' albums were beat up) of David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and pointed out the backside liner note which stated, "TO BE PLAYED AT MAXIMUM VOLUME."
So I did. That album opened me up. Before it, the strangest tracks I was digging on were "I Am the Walrus" by the Beatles or Doors albums. Here's this album that tells a story about an interstellar rock star, an androgynous one, and the music isn't backwards, but it's from another planet when compared to the Appetite For Destruction cassette I was fond of. It opened things up for me. I had to seek out more albums like this. I bought Rykodisc reissues of Bowie's catalog. Then it was finding more of the glam rock Bowie championed in the 70's. And that sent me down the path I'm at today....this rabbit hole of continually seeking out another album, seeking out another genre or style. That's how Bowie opened me up, I mean the guy touched almost every genre throughout his catalog, how could it not.
For a long time, there was a full-fledged Bowie obsession. While it's cooled down since high school and college, I'm still very much a fan of his music. In college, I wrote a paper about Bowie's androgynous Ziggy character and how, in a way, it made gay cool. Of course, I embellished the point for the purpose of my paper (the professor pointed this out, not me), but what is important about the story is that it made gay acceptable for me. Obviously, in 4th grade, I wan't comprehending what Ziggy was about. Ziggy, to 4th grade me was asexual, which was odd, but I wasn't old enough to understand sexuality.
As a young adult reading about it, it became a bit more clear. Bowie's sexuality was up in the air, probably bisexual, but pretty clear, not a straight laced heterosexual. And, I want to be careful here, because I've never had it in me to hate, but as a heterosexual teenager, the idea of homosexuality is well, queer, for lack of a better term. Even my aunt is gay, I knew that before Bowie, but I just kind of choose to ignore it to avoid confusion. At that age, it's easier to question things that are different from you rather than accept them. And sometimes, you just don't bother to come to terms with it. But, here is this guy, this hero of mine, who was different than me, who was gay. I had to accept that. So, beyond the music, I credit Bowie for making me a better person.
Rest in peace David Bowie and thank you.
This Is Not America