8: Nicholas Pegg on Heathen
Ankle Floyd I y you feel today well I got I got woken up at Five twenty five. Am and my phone for the next five hours in stop but you know what can I say? He was good to me very good to me. We had a relationship and a lot of people know that and he wrote the song he came to the bottom line. Seamy and He'll be missed. I mean you know it was a one of kind. Act An artist. Hello welcome welcome back Bowie persons and a happy new year. And if you're listening today David Bowie. Happy Birthday all love wherever you are way. Back for two hundred. Nineteen with this the first in a two-part Extravaganza celebrating the mighty two thousand and two comeback album heathen seventeen years old this year. He is a marvellous major milestone in the Bowie candidate. It Marx's reunion with friend collaborator and producer Visconti and scatter the pair came up with what the latter subsequently described as being though. He's magnum opus. Certainly this is a new era. In bowie's career the warm rich mature sound reflecting a warm rich and mature man's outlook on life in uncertain times recorded around the time of his mother's death and his daughters birth as well as of course the nine eleven attacks. The sums on heathen speak of faith. Galt the future fear or stellar and cult television heroes. The album also features a bumper crop of covers including some quite esearch choices. But the lights of Neil young the pixies and the legendary Stardust Cowboy. I think it's an album that easily matches the scope and richness of anything Bowie created before and so in order to do it justice. I invited Nicholas. Pay Back the PODCAST. The esteemed and noble author of the Complete David Bowie cast his net foreign wide in. What became a truly epic Odyssey through the record. Hence this addition. I'm going to take you straight into the heart of our Supachai podcast straightway. But I should point out that as usual. Some sort of technical Gremlin was present during the recording. And in this case it affected my microphone in the first of his two part episode. Meaning that I'm a somewhat go sleep echoing presence in proceedings. Nevertheless you get nick peg in full surround sound stereo and I think that's really the key thing here so anyway sit back unwrapped unwind and let us take you on a journey through one of David. Bowie's was brilliant accomplished and enduring albums. He Nick Welcome. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me back. Always lovely to To join you another very chitchat and we're actually not unusual. His Win Basin Samaritan camera which is a fairly long story but if it sounds a little bit echoey which doesn't sound too we've been actually knickknack tracks underground in a basement cellar and he's not. GonNa leave until say daddy daddy underground this way. You have to spend the next hour pleading okay eloquently without Ta Hesitation Titian. She paid you. It's bound to be devious conduit without the income. That's sausage not a shelf that we are going to be talking two thousand two album which you very excited that when we were charged survey. Yeah very very into so as usual. My first question to us. Why Heathen well? I could say this about any one of David. Bowie's albums couldn't I bet it is a fascinating album? It comes to one of the real milestones in his career. It is I think I think we can look at heathen now as we as we look in the context of David Bowie's whole career. It's the sort of beginning of of what what we might call his his his file face anyway. His last his his lost work during the nineteen ninety. Yeah exactly I think so Jet During the nineties he had produced some of the most vibrant brilliant Experimental work of his career albums. Like one outside earthlink. Which who knows? One day I'd love to come and talk about this as well because I think that very brilliant still very underrated But in the general critical Sort of consensus of the day. Those he had become a bit of a an acquired taste to a lot of people. He he was you know he wasn't going to number one. He was a lot of people. He was a sort of slightly peculiar. Some people thought he was past his sell by date this that and the other. It wasn't really until his headlining set at Glastonbury in two thousand When there was a sense suddenly that he was the sort of homecoming emperor of of of British rock music and everyone sat up and took notice again but he was the one wet nearly every single critic settlement okay. He's he's back in the zone he's he's he's back. This is his big sort of comeback. Money is it is an entirely agree with any of that. Because I think that outside another thing and some of these other ones that just brilliant in in their inaugural but there is a sense in which he then consolidates that period of post tin machine experimentation Gomez recent album. But he'd released before that was hours. I mentioned yet which was a much more. I guess sort of a gentler album than even right from the word go very from his youngest as both had been singing songs about mortality and death his own and others but with either. I think that's the point of where it becomes. This is made by a fifty five year old man who is not looking death in the face but he is becoming increasingly aware that the clock is ticking. And these themes suddenly come into focus and crystallize on this album. In a way that they hadn't done before and there's also the fact of course that heathen was his first big reunion for many years with his producer. Tony Visconti who had produced so many of his wonderful albums. Back in the late sixties into the seventies going up to scary monsters in one thousand nine hundred eighty nine was lost Sunday. What's worse Kurt? Well NOT QUITE. The last thing they did in that period was in fact the ball. Epa and it. Yeah in recorded and innovative won't be interested in that answer lost last time you were there. And that was the last time he worked with twenty that long period and then they had a beautiful sort of cooling off period in the nineteen eighty S. And you know a little bit of a falling out but they got back together and kissed and made up in the late nineties go together in about ninety eight and they had actually already worked on a few bits and pieces already. Tony Visconti produced a truck which was never released but Yoko Ono was planning a John Lennon sort of tribute album tribute albums were in the nineties. Were with a you'd get the great and the good to do as a Doodoo a song age. There was Elton. John and there was Zena also and Bowie recorded a actually rather fantastic version of mother. The Lonzo yeah which which has never been officially released. It was leaked so You know you can probably find it somewhere on the Internet into a rather fantastic and turn on there and also on a track called safe full safe in the sky. Life which was originally commissioned for a believes in all the rugrats movie if you remember the rugrats which is the Mesh peculiar collision of slates create from labyrinth up to spongebob sweat. Rice exactly exactly and that was recorded but then I mean this in itself is is kind of extraordinary illustration of the sort of fluctuating esteem in which seemed to help unbelievably they got to record us on. They got David Bowie to record a song for the baby and then they didn't use it. They cut it from the movie. I mean what is your what is great. I mean they safe was in fact it was reworked and re recorded a bit but they did have it was eventually released as a as a b side during the heathen period. So No. That's that's out there but that was done in about ninety. Well they were getting back together. Gradually I'm when Bowie finally said right. I'm ready to do an album. He called up a tiny Wisconsin. Of course the other thing that we have to mention at this point is that in between hours and heathen another. Truly extraordinary thing had happened. Which was the Bowie recorded? Another album? Which his record label decided not to release incredible. What were they thinking? This was David Bowie and it was great as well because again. This is another thing. That's all as we're talking about toy which was recorded in the summer of summer and also of two thousand not long after the Glastonbury performance. Though he got that band together the live band to the glass debris and the Bowie at the beep thing few days later and they went into the studio and recorded re recorded a whole. Lot of Bowie's Juvenilia very Junius homes when the sudden if they blasted out and this under the mazing so he recorded a whole album of these and a couple of new songs which he'd written to go on as well. This was originally due for release in early. Two thousand one something like that and he was with Virgin. Emi at the time that was a and it gradually became apparent that there was a problem it was going to be released and then it was often than it was on and anyway basically we will ever really the anyone's got to the bottom of it for whatever reason virgin stroke am. I decided they weren't gonNA this album and they put on the shelf. O E had had several years of already hitting his head against the corporate. Emi was really struggling some yes hands periods where they needed a hit. Al Yes and the whole business model of recorded music. Kohl's changing because loads because of I choose because of massive things going up sixties covers. Yeah so of course for the executives point Mr being this. What are you doing gets let starts again? That goes through. Rick is young Americans again today day. Yeah but it wasn't as if we hadn't had other label struggles in the nineties. I mean his outside album was the original version of that. He presented to his label. Apparently they took one look at that. I want to listen to that. And said what is this and he went back in and recorded some more commercial tracks ago so the Vendredi version. Yes some of the tracks on outside. Were were the ones that he recorded. Sort of just keep great. They're still great songs but it was originally going to be a lot more one case even than it was. I think he'd he'd he'd had enough to come to a head that's You know a a major label refusing to release his new album. Obviously he wasn't very happy about that at all so this is the point at which he gave him. The boot formed his own label. Which again is another thing that you know autism were starting to do at that point so he created this new label called ISI which was his own thing and then he took it to Columbia records going to deal with them for distribution so heathen which was recorded in summer ultimate. Two thousand one was the first album came out on his own on his label and he sort of had a great deal. More sort of autistic Adams sort of marketing control over it than he'd ever had before really with his arm angle reading interviews with him that way he was incredibly acerbic about record labels this new lease of life he had with the record label without. Tommy of what he was doing. And we have different strands. Consider here so we have the visconti relationship firing again. Yup I rented they were listened to just go through this music. Appoint the Beck's midnight vultures favorites. That relationship was rekindled. As you say the legal situations resolve and we'd had adults yes indeed. He had just become a father again in the summer of two thousand his slow. Yeah yeah very much. So and putting the focus factories will be houses true. I think ours does begin hints of Nostalgia. Maybe or taking back over career gets haven. I want my next question for you is the title. What is he them in? This context right. It's I think it isn't with lots of different. Things is not just obviously. The woodhaven has religious connotations. Obviously fessing to say `and from that we move onto wondering about what David Bowie's spiritual stroke faith situation Watson of Costa David Bowie throughout his life had a complex relationship with well. We've called. You know he was he. He certainly wasn't a conventional churchgoing Christian but he clearly did have some sort of. It was a belief that he struggled with And it was believed that that he he found I think over his life increasingly difficult to reconcile with what he saw around him. And you're quite right with with the album and I think it's incredibly important that he had just become a father again. This was tremendously affecting his songwriting because whereas the ours album. There's a sense of as you said to sort of retrospective feeling a sense of world weariness. An almost a sense of resignation on some of the songs. But heathen actually. I think more more troubled album than an lyrically than than ours with a sense of sort of nagging anxiety and fear for the future and this way would spiritual search that you can see in his right back to station to station example but many many of so he than you know. I'm he's he's I mean. He said so at the time he said that he he. He was thinking about his daughter. This new baby that he had brought into the world and he was in fear for the future for her future. For what the world has to be. And so there's there's a sense on heathen there's a sort of this extraordinary tug of war between lust for life and his own sense of his own mortality all of our more. There's also I think a sense of shattered optimism very jolly isn't it but there was a time in the one thousand nine hundred and know again looking on the outside album and other things. There's a sense of looking forward to the millennium. There was a time when we'll talk about the year. Two thousand dollars. It was some amazing space age thing on the horizon And it came on. I went and I think by two thousand and one Bowie was kind of realized. Feeling that you know that that that's wonderful. Sense of optimism promised hadn't materials on his next album. He goes a digression On reality which came to hidden. There's a song nickel she'll drive the big car which actually has line about that. He thinks my way back. When Millennium meant racing to the light he's remembered UN's so this whole manifest itself big time on haven. I think you know he actually said There's a little quote that he said at the time when he was talking about heath and he's one of the themes of the album is an. Here's the quote the fear that there is no spiritual life So you know he's wrestling with you. Know he doesn't know if we when the end comes Darkness blackness nothing oblivion and. Of course we think about two thousand and one and we think about The events in the world while the other extraordinary heathen didn't come out until the early summer of two thousand and two recorded sort of August September. The main recording sessions two thousand one and by the time it came out it was quite difficult to hit some of those songs particularly the opening track. Sunday on a of the others without thinking. Well neither but the extraordinary thing is that the songs were written and largely recorded before nine eleven happens. I wasn't about that thing. It wasn't a reaction to that thing but his extraordinarily it sort of plucked out together. It caught that NAGGING CENSOR. Something in the there is you. Could you could listen to say I think particularly perhaps the opening track Sunday and you could absolutely assume that this was a song about not in which it isn't but you know they were recording it. When that happened they were actually away in the in the studio recording it on the day on the day that that happened but some but yeah so it's some that's another fascinating. Part of the part of the mix is because like you say when it comes when it came out I think those days it was still such a recent event it colored the discourse initiate. It was Everybo- yup belly comes album which is foot of these brooding dog themes and reflections on mortality and pretty heavy spiritual questions. Obvious is nine eleven happened but like you say the writings being completed the tracks. This was not loose. Cut Quite fast as ever with over there. Were there were a few overdubbed sessions Weeks or even months before the actual substance of the songs and certainly the writing. The demoing started early. You know beginning. Two Thousand and one and the writing is owned. By the time they went into the studio in the summer it was ready to roll. So yeah it was as you say of course post nine mccown looking for these things and I think I think berries at another ticketed. If you're at the time decide to I do understand why people might think that but actually you could put half a dozen of Majles just after nine. Eleven and true isn't it? I mean if you don dogs whatever I think this is from what I've been reading a big part of the album's texture and feel comes from the actual location is recorded. Yes he discovered this fantastic complex in the woodstock. That's up in the catskill mountains in a couple of couple of hours drive north of New York City one. He was talking about professional heating. Wisconson check out this location. It's very close to an studios. Yep and he told magazine walking through the door. Everything that my outon should be about was galvanized me. In one point. I knew what the lyrics were already. All suddenly accumulates to mind so in other words. He's some sort of equipment from visconti. You mentioned one morning. He just was a huge plate. Glass Windows today. Yes yes across. The reservoir mountains at the top of the in the background overwhelming. We'll certainly seem to fire up some kind of inspiration deep within. I think this is absolutely crucial and again you can look back across both career and see that this was a this was something that happened quite often. He was Bowie was very affected by the environment around him. As as any sensitive receptive artist is and there are. Of course. It's easy. With retrospect if we know where they recorded to sail this but I think you can tell just as you can tell Berlin for example. I think you can tell that. Hunky Dory and recorded in London. I think you can certainly tell that station to station was recorded in a in a in a haze of cockaded in la the mid seventies by the same token. I think you can tell that has a different sense to hidden very unusually for. It was not recorded an up and environment. It was recorded in this sort of re purposed nine thousand nine hundred twenty s shall a hunting lodge amount in the catskills with amazing views across the mountain but Bowie was very keen to point out. At the time that it wasn't it wasn't sort of pretty pretty well sort of kids to was bleak. And and you know eagles circling overhead. And you know these but the extraordinary views sunrises and this sort of something great almost cleansing but also something very minimalist about it which allowed him to really drill down into into what he was. He was writing and Interesting as well that he said that the sort of an album a to hall's not not like I often second-half bits of mixed things. Along the way there are some very sort of heavy pieces in it and there are some lighter pieces. And we'll talk about this and do Costner but interesting that he said that a lot of the sort of slightly more heavyweight pieces like Sunday and the title track of course heat and the reason I would be your slave. Those songs that the very spiritual troubled sons were among the first to be written. What he he he got those down. And then you know after. He'd sort of anchored the album. He could then insult of it introduce a bit more comfortable light and shade and different different moods the as well and some of the other songs came sophis- out. I mean if you strip away for once the lights of cereal. Yeah because four sons has a station station step five fifteen inches of garments another watch Sunday. Yeah absolutely slow-burn. I suppose you could do the. But even that's more UPTEMPO is still. The lyric is quite league through the ninety s off to black tie white noise anyway. He had pretty much abandoned his usual tradition of including a couple of cover versions on each. There's no come on that side or earthlink or an hour then. Three three versions and they're great. They're great television. They fit into the album very beautifully and it really struck me especially its halfway point on the album that there's the sequencing is quite sort of dark then light than dark on the cover versions of this is almost a sensible. That was quite a heavy one day. Where here's a bit of fun then back to but that's not to say that the color versions of trivial for us? I mean it's very satisfying up even in the mixing stages were regarded as a success. It really it fulfilled all my expectations of what we could do together yet. It has very signature style. I think you can tell by listening to that. It was made by myself and Tony Okay. So let's get into So-so Sunday Sunday the opener now when we left hours which was quite straightforward musically. Speaking album is singer songwriter reaction. We're now in this clicking bleeping landscape the whole composition feels like it's an introduction. Yeah it's immediately a lot more so minimalist hours isn't it is that there's a sort of lushness about our got. Lots of layers has got lots of Guitar Acoustic Guitars. And she's a sin inside of these. Yes Sunday begins with this. Sort of bleeping liberty synthesizers even waste this. You know when we're not in Kansas anymore. Be surprised if always had right. I'm now going to make an album of great weight Thought that wasn't the way he thought there is a sense right from the word. Go that this is a magnum opus. Titian said that often see said his is yeah. I mean Sunday. I never really answered your question about He. Did I buy the title? He that but now we're we're coming. We can start coming about maybe not yes because Sunday is a loaded. Word of course. Isn't it and been was brought up in a in a unremarkable but straightforward sort of nineteen fifty nine hundred sixty s Christian English childhood? Who knows obviously? I didn't think they were hugely observant. I think his mother came from Catholic family. I think that's right on the. Yeah yeah they went to church. On Sundays. I think in unaided used to tell stories Remembering his mother listening to the song on the radio things like that. You know over the wings of a dove that some sort of influenced him in fact. Tim Stuck in his mind and of course Sundays in quite a lot of his early lyrics in. Can't help thinking about me. Remember us to go to church on Sunday and in again a couple of other early songs in a rubber band and lovey Tuesday both have lovers meeting on a Sunday. It could almost be like a diary. Entry couldn't have Sunday this. It has that sort of feel to it. This really been no room for change with me. It's all despondency despair fear isolation giving back to your question about even from about the title Heath and I think it's it's not just about is not saying I'm a heathen I'm a heretic. I'm a non believer. I'm a pagan whatever. There's a fat but there is also a sense of the. I think the pejorative sense of of you. Know the way that the people who are more fundamental about their religion will will refer to someone else's even in a sort of aggressive sort of way and I wonder if pointing the gun at himself a bit and saying I am I am I take. I have on it because albums like on on the situation is grappling with this faith. Yes and he's adopting stance relationship so they've got suspended TRANSI. He's adopting very salt and I thought this could be adopting was radical stance towards favor. I said yes. I did think about the artwork. Line is the very deliberate. Artwork included the CD book to face iconoclasm of original genuine meaning of it. Gets of religious? Icons being defaced. Yeah he is a mantle that he's adopting himself and trying to analyze complex relation from that and I think sequencing available is terribly important. I that is not a random selection was on Sunday is not the most heathen of songs on because later on. We'll get to them. There are other songs but he's ready actually haranguing God on Sunday. He's he's singing this line. All my trials Lord will be remembered as like something from what on a wing or something? Isn't it it's GONNA. It's almost there's a sort of sense of He's troubled he's you know. All my trials will be remembered. He's almost saying I'm not gonNA forget this either. It's not just about you. It's about me and Scott Walker. Voice is using his walkabout thought. Wonderful pulled as you said sort of portentous for and also I mean musically harmonic cleon and she gives melodic and harmonic particularly of the harmonic progression. In Sunday's something else is quite extraordinary. Actually foreshadows black star the song I think this sort of the monastic chance of the it does actually yeah. Yeah that's sort of measured pace. The the opening sequence the day of execution did you likes very similar. And it's got this wonderful sort of polly coral chanting which had backing vocals visconti joined in on. Tony County has a wonderful ability to sing two nights at the same time she learned from some Tibetan Nausea. Talking about yeah. This is great difficult technique. Yeah he must hear. It's the most beautiful The is it has a great beauty and a great source of and it gradually bills on these calls resolve upwards into a and and you know one momentum minor and troubled and then suddenly the suns are comes out on that rise up as on wings. Insomnia goes into a Medicare absurdity beautiful. Every that happens which again is the other. You know the interesting thing the this this wonderful studio that they were recording up in the catskills was a huge open. Space the room that they were in great being on the streams and Toni T. and Bowie revived the famous. Heroes Microphone today. Yeah you know the famous story about the three with the gates but at the end of Sunday. That's that's perhaps the most notable example of it on the you can hit eight way because he's been quite sort of measured and quite sort of controlled and then Sunday at the end of everything has suddenly opens up in bars. Yeah absolutely yeah. Eighty really letting rip. Yeah Yeah it's it's an incredibly dramatic opening question. It ain't Dan's whatever else. They certainly I really sets the tone. I mean like I think a lot of the things that he visits over the course of the album packs into here. Yeah ready to be delve into yes and as you mentioned earlier he will offer a little bit of light relief because we now connects to one of his favorite bands. Yes abandoned. He was talking up for years. And years. And years the PIXIES. And what is interesting choice for pixies cover? It really has admitted most obvious one is a pig's reggie two catches in Asia. That's right let debut album so far is a oh. Yeah and another thing. That's really interesting about this right. Is that Bowie? Plays everything himself the base right which was conscious but this was a diamond dogs style. Yeah Avocado the Armley. I love crunchiness. It wasn't until some times I realize because that's his only recorded trump foods. Yeah you're probably right. I also noticed that yeah. Yeah let's look at the complete David Berry available from all good bookstore. Thinking is his only recorded. You're probably right. It is and of course this is delivered. He was under no illusions about his own. Virtuosity musician he. He knew his his abilities on his own. Swi- considerable of course and he was. He is no better vocalist. And everybody we've talked about this before. He was an amazing vocal technician. He was a very nifty Acoustic guitarist he was over and he was a pretty nifty electric guitars when he put his unto but the fact that he decided to do this was was. You know it's a as as I would have said back in the days you know it was a strategy success. His cover version of CACTUS on heathen. Has this wonderful that a garage assigned deliberately sort of low tech? Almost almost not boys keep swinging teenage boy in his bedroom. Doing it all doing himself. But Yeah as you say he'd been building up. The pixies for years roundabout the sort of tin machine time. He started talking in fact in machine covered another one. They did Debase around on tour in the back in the second machine and of course black Francis a singer from the pixies had joined by Onstage at his fiftieth concert. As well that it fashion and scary monsters together so So yes this was a kind of culmination of of that billiard obviously had modem for for a long time it seems to as so often with these cover versions it sort of Bensholmo funny direction and yet at the same time. Fits perfectly within? The album's scheme of things is almost a bit of light relief often Sunday. But it's not that because it's not particularly it's actually quite a. It's a strong subject. Matter is quite a tongue in cheek song but at the same time. It's kind of my goodness. I mean people know what it's about but is basically a narrator of the song as prisoner and he's writing lesser to his girlfriend wife. She is saying you know. I'm I'm here on lonely without you take off your dress. Send it to me. And then the next thing he's GonNa run outside and get all sweaty and send it to me. And then eventually bloody address in the CACTUS tree obsessive hands on the wipe it on address and send it to me. Yeah it's got that sort of existential despair. That is actually a canine of this album. And he's right up your street. Isn't it that sort of weird sort of quite Ben Diesel songs? The whole thing's last doppler. Replace it as a sort of slight tongue-in-cheek chains to twisted sick humor to it. That's right it's like a little is so small and complete and perfect. Yeah and yet when he would play it live and he's also not to get it on. Yeah that's right and this is what the groover as well as a sort of T. Rex meant that dad and also of course adding to the tongue-in-cheek in this Bowie adds that little thing of his own to is which is again. Light in T. REX's degree of begins with T in the middle bit of Bowie's version of CACTUS. He outrageously he does D. V. D. Spells his name his trivia. That is only the third and I think last time that he named himself in some way back in again helping me keeps on coming up Dave and then of course in teenage wildlife bit about. They'll come to me and say David. Oh yeah that's how they wait for me in the hallway. I say I don't know any hallways. It's one of the great lies We all think about me. Teenage Wildlife and Cactus the three song. Mitch David Bubby calls himself. David Yeah well. It's a great. It's really really played up to the stage when he played it live as well as sort of spelled out with you know he did kind of interactivity dawn sort of all the Ymca Pretty WWe Newark New Jersey beginning. Another Day of broadcasting is is really like life on Mars site one now for many years. I didn't yeah I grew up in the UK. Never seen the alkaloid. Show this quite a bit to unpack here so so. Let's take it step by step. Yes absolutely first of all. Let me say I agree with you. Slip away is if anyone doesn't know even a toll listening to this thinking. Oh my God obviously please. Please listen to the whole album. But if you only isn't a one train Papa John's lip it's a stunner in that that WanNa win you over and then go right. I am going to listen to his own. Because it's amazing before we get onto the whole unemployed thing show. I guess the first thing we ought to say is that this is one of the two tracks on heathen which were actually originally recorded for the unreleased album. Now slip away as a complete re recording not the version. That was all numb. That was that was going to be home toy on the song was originally called Uncle Floyd but Bowie. Obviously you know liked to solve. It won't do it again so here it is. This is another object lesson in in. What so utterly fantastic about about David. Bowie's son rushing method. It's a specific song about a very specific thing which will talk about an amendment but it also just takes flight from that and becomes a universal song about these feelings of alienation and loneliness and anxiety for the future and the past that. So you know it's it's it's extraordinary. You know he can take something as small and strange and obscure this and it suddenly sort of blossoms into some that means all things to all men. It's it's it's wonderful. It's one of his. I think it's one of the great songs of his his late period. From deep in the heart of Newark New Jersey with live and Serbs from Trenton. It's Uncle Floyd nostalgic music special so star the Uncle Floyd Show. It was a obscure cheap slightly. Naff CHILDREN'S CABLE NETWORK. Show is that we came out of various New Jersey. Networks run for quite a long time started in the mid seventy four. It ran up on and off. I think up until about nineteen ninety nine so it only just recently come off the for the last time and it was a how to describe it is almost impossible but if you think of a sort of a cross between other no the banana splits and Sesame Street of the show. It was a sort of a live audience. It had this Guy Floyd Vena who is of old school entertainer in a funny blazer and a hat anyhow this sort of there were various puppet characters in its you know including this clown public old guy who was a sort of a ventriloquist puppet that Floyd Vivian was ventriloquist so they used to just cut to the public. What chocolate Florida than it would cut back to hibs like? Oh what do you think I do? And and there was another popular nickel bones boy who is a skeleton. This is all referenced in the song. So bowie you join the late Seventies. It's started become a bit of a cult favorite among and it was kind of a sensitive children's show but it started becoming absolutely John Lennon turn Bowie. Househusband Hibernation Dakota offloaded television. Yes you're gonNA say somebody else and Party. Yes he he. He entered his spoke to an unbiased time. Becoming a bit. Like the kind of rich Obama's were going on in a squeeze before ramones performed on these people and Bowie actually went along in England right incognito. But he did just turn on the inside of the audience and the and the Culture Craig David. It is Any new all the way to the theme song and everything and Yeah. Apparently he used to watch. This is right about nineteen eighty when he was doing the elephant in New York and he used to watch it and interesting apparently and the elephant man so he was a big big fan of it and he loved it and history of this show is is quite interesting and again possibly. Jemaine some specific stuff that there because it was always on these these upscale New Jersey networks and we have a cult thing but in nineteen eighty-two brief period of national syndication. Nbc Big Bro. Picked it up and they put it out and it went nationwide for a very short period because then complaint started coming. What is this garbage and reading this? I thought of all the people always championed ovation. The ledge translates the results cowboy. Bef- rose All these kooky outsider eccentrics and floyd. Yeah it was very much one of these people. That's right. Yeah Yep I've always loved his people he loved the widow more obscure the more out there. The more doing their own thing against all the odds but we loved that you know the greater the ridicule bounce back at them the better it was. As far as he was concerned he loved those people. And you know it wasn't an ironic. Isn't this funny? This is so bad it's gonNA genuinely NBC's Honey. Because then they can. We can take this cake and accessories. Exactly the shell something. Yeah Yeah Yeah. That's right but it didn't really work out like that. I mean some people just said what is. This is all rubbish other. They were actually sort of complaints from the religious right because they had some. They had a soda. They had a brother. Billy Bucher or something so anyway that it didn't last long by nine hundred eighty three. It was back on cable in New Jersey and back to obscurity. So if you listen to the song it's the boys singing about well what I think he's singing about. But maybe I'm wrong. This is my interpretation but we said many times before you can interpret both songs. How you like? That's what they're for. That's what we wanted them to before. So one time they really might have been bones silverscreen. No one knew what they could do. Except for me and you. It's like it's a little secret cult thing but suddenly they're not saying he gets to that point in space. It's always nine hundred ninety two Isn't it so? Is He referring to that? That could me what that could be suggesting. Soldier suggest to me is that you know the opening of that film contact. Carl Sagan thing was the camera pulls out from the earth and it goes out in your hair transmissions crushed coming out and the and the You know you hear. The things gradually goes to silence as we get far enough away from the radio transmissions. Yeah I'm the time factor you know the last because perhaps those NBC transmissions shooting out into space and aliens might hear them eventually. But it's always nineteen eighty. I think there's something extraordinarily poignant about it. And it's just about the little pompous really. Moving Song it's he sings that he's singing his heart out. It means something to him and it was an I tell you it was a belter live as well. He sang it on the heathen tour and again on on the on the reality tour. Two thousand three to four it was a regular and it was a highlight. It was a favorite crowd favorite. Yeah I saw. I saw it several times in two thousand two and on and on the radio so later on he actually opened it with a clip from the show we were laying arenas thousands of this watching of Yogi Gung Ho and then it went into the. They did the song when it got to the chorus which has enormous chorus chorus the size of Asia And head went on a little bouncing ball with lyrics screen behind it but it was just. That's Corny but that's all part of the sort of it was just kind of hits. The really does get from Quincy tragic comedy and absurdity. Yeah she's which is the salt. Yes yes now. Imagine if like me. You didn't have a clue about any of this. When you first heard yes ago was this twinkle twinkle twinkle twinkle Little Star. Because he then goes how. I wonder where you are now. Here's an interesting thing which we should mention at some point. So let's mention it now as Bowie occasionally. Did he fire his band? Because of course they all go back to the live shows that heathen is an album recorded. Ask for several others you know. Essentially a new van Bowie was always very good at sort of staging an album. Deciding what personnel. We're going to be heated again of course famously with Flagstar into you know. The next day has become off too many is he? By and large use people. He used before musicians together. A few newcomers on the next day but that a lot of them. Were you know the familiar faces? Black Star he goes on. You know power from Tony. Visconti call band was completely new people and this is something he would do from time to time when he needed to shake up and get a new center. It's uneven is one these so yes mike and the rest of the gang you know Gallon Dorsey. And whoever came back to life but if you look at the ban on he and his lodging attorney was going to play bass on it so he was you know. Obviously you know veteran but yes. This was the first time. But what Jerry Leonard? Who did them become allies regular on? Yeah he he actually. I Beg your pardon. It's not I would have. He had Jerry Leonard. What we both on the toy sessions just before. That was the first time so anyway he came back for heathen so it's his first big thing drummer match chamberlain. He was a newcomer. David Tom Guitarist was that he was David Torn. Who Actually recommended this Judas? Two Billion Visconti. Yeah he plays all those sort of ambient guitars of textures on its and Yeah Christine Young on cables and biking biking various things. It was another newcomer. Kevin Russell who again who went on to play live all the way through the reality toy with a wonderful percussionist multi instrumentalist backing singer. So himself plays a lot on even perhaps the most important that say he and he plays retro since he got hurt some of his old things from the Berlin period the ems of briefcase synthesizer of his. And of course let us since we're on slip away dragging by the famous STA phone Which of course it previously had featured on things like well most famously space oddity on some of the other recordings as well as on some bits of the man who sold the world isn't it as well and You know it's a few others but after all they're definitely in the world brilliantly. He took us on stage with him on the haven during the reality of the very end of slipway there is nothing there is a styrofoam solo and they would end. The song live with Bowie literally holding up to the microphone and doing a little bit. The ended up. I mean just just extraordinary because again. That is another of these outside artists though because it's a ridiculous electro that makes a silly little buzzing sound and kids play with anything outside the scene. It's it's the the loot Doffed sort of protest decided that you kind of budget and we made something beautiful outfit. Lots of David Torn. Because I love the beginning away. Those beautiful harmonic. Yes yes. It's sort of picky. Which kind of create this sort of like star Star it'll twinkling you sort of wrinkle twinkle gas? Yeah Yeah He. He's on the next day. No he didn't tow with no he didn't know but he no. He plays extensively on on the next day. Yeah Yeah Yeah Oh stay away. So that's always dip away. It's I mean you mentioned life Muslim throughout the beginning of talking about I mean it really is. I think it really is in. The tradition of life on. Mars is one of those great soaring ballots buildings in that in that sort of company. I really do think it does get such full vocal performance. Yeah that's been studied. He's he's that isn't the irony. God wasn't that crap. No nothing nothing is. I think it's fascinating inspections wise meant so much. What was the most hot the heartfelt yearning vocal? Yes about this Kooky cable. Tv Yeah Yeah Tragic. I think it's a tragedy. It's just the adoration of someone's vision and clear believe themselves despite ridicule displeasure. Yes yes despite all is way off the Achy after you told me about massive be froze or did you biff on the physical which was Hunky epic Just an awful lot of another artist. Who's pretty out there. But when you and he's still pretty outta their that's right. Yeah when we covered these people he often you know he. He did give him a slightly more commercial. Shane will come onto this in a minute with With of course with with literally starters cowboy comes on later on the similar is even more extreme case. But that's not a lot get ahead of ourselves but we would would would sort of Jewish them up and make them rather rather rather more conventional exactly but he would he would give give a slightly glossy sheen to it. But if you go back into the original biff roses or the original legendary sort of couples. Something else not brings. Us announced the next This was such flair indices on. It was on the Roster. That's right it was originally slated to release a single in the UK. Number actually probably came out. It came out on in Europe and in some other places but in Britain it didn't actually in the end. They decided not. It's an old one actually because it was originally sort of launched as as it were the flagship single from album but But then a populist view TV appearances Bowie actually only performed it twice in concert. He did it sets a meltdown. Was the his. You know. We'll talk about meltdown as well. Of course that this was the release of heating coincided with very curated meltdown festival on the South Bank. And I'm sure we'll talk about that more than but yeah that concert where he performed. The whole of Ethan was the last time he ever played slogan. I think quite difficult song to play live. It has a very very high local attached to it. It must have been a pretty difficult to recreate. Live this applauding do you think? Performance take as the vocal forms is very impressive. Yeah this is now. This times gets up. That's right that's right. He's like big thundercloud guitar scrunchy. Yeah I think it's actually a wonderful. What is a great guitar? Part I think is this came about. Actually this is part of Ethan. That did kind of come about because of nine eleven. Insofar as in the wake of nine eleven bowie was among the many artists who performed at the concept of New York which is a big charity was America. We did exactly. He opened the show. He played a beautiful version of Simon Garfunkel America. And then he did of course the inevitable But fantastic heroes and anyway. Pete Townsend was playing at that as well and they sort of Meta backstage Played for before way back on scary monsters. He'd played on Because he'll young he posted on that so they had a history and bury her covered. I count on much more recently. He covered pictures of the WHO Song for another. If those tribute album is slim of this is expressly for this tool. I've made myself and why do big story textures Utah I duNNo. I can't get into this. It's the most sort of UPTEMPO Hesam on it is. It is definitely I think lyrically it belongs with you know Sunday and hitting those things in his very too late and they know Hishammuddin having this terrible time and it is full of some sort of actually his favorite sort of portentous phrases appear in it. I mean he thinks these are the days now. These are the days is a little snippet that Bowie had used before more than once the line. These are the days of course appears under pressure. These offices and and need among from our dream has also has so. That's always a little little signature phrase that he liked it does have a sort of Poulton to sort of doom laden feel too but perhaps even more. Interestingly there's a foreshadowing of black star because on sober and he sings And here are we at the center of it. All and at the center of it all of course his is a is a repeated line in blackstone again. He's he's foreshadowing of things right. It has it does have this very weighty sort of doom laden atmosphere this hair overhead. And I think I think it's powerful song. I can understand why I think it's the most distinctive in terms of just you know the music the backing track. It's it's a kind of a bit of a tugboat standard isn't it's called heroes of Berta and it's got the actually sound a bit. Light here is a bit like teenage world. Got that sort of groove. And it's perhaps less distinctive than some of them but I think he's got great wonderfully produce put together. I totally agree on on this Feel too that's that's a constant over the years it's always revisiting. This evidence either extensible a metaphysical apocalypse or relation. And those are the trucks. Like this I think is do take on retrospectively talker. Definitely Textra to had that in order to release time. Yes you might not quite the same import yes yes I think you're right. Yeah Yeah I. It's I like the sonically and musically. It's got an APP is wonderful. Just wonderful there's going to one of the baseline another. I take the saxophone turning returning. You don't have. I like you see Ono. I think there's a great that is a. I think it's a great bit of Scotty. Sort of discretion sort of uncluttered. But there are these little well you could. You could say that. Yeah punctuate I think wonderful. And they are by the way those those sickness the bony horns last heard on. Never let me down. You know they're real blast from the past blossom. The last. I think he's got that wonderful it. It has got more of in a way more of a Retro Classic Bowie. Feel to it. I guess so. It's it's not the most out there track on his and that's for sure and I can sort of see why they chose that kind of flagships on away playing safely. But what would you have chosen? I don't know I mean may well have chosen slip because I think it's a multiple catches your household to blow. Yes the second song of the album and it was like a big just said. Yeah Yeah it's funny awesome movie cheese for about cheese. I like it okay. I'll tell you this. This is the darndest uncle more. I got more. This is a slogan of his own. I am now going to the very latest piece of poetry with even have ever sold. You write this. This is apropos of nothing. But I'm GonNa tell you anyway if you arrange all of David Berry songs that he wrote in alphabetical order. As of course I did for my book because my book has a big gators edible. His sons slip away and slow-burn are the only two songs which not only are consecutive in the entire Lizard. Everybody's on Petar actually consecutive on the same album slip away followed by him. There you go. There's a there's a fact and songs are two words. Four interesting isn't it? Yeah And that wraps up part one of our heave Nathan and I will have to read if you as soon as I possibly can stay seated if you are seated. Meanwhile a huge. Thanks to Nick peg for his time and insights and generosity with his thoughts and reflections on Stephen and as a supersized. Thank you for you for listening. And if you enjoy this podcast. Please do share the love on facebook. Instagram and twitter all three or just one. It's just at album twelve. I really do appreciate that. So that's it for now. Ampato is incoming suit.