Let me tell you a story. During Christmas break I made an album with my brother, drummer Alex Moralez, and Dave and Christine from Marah. (They produced, engineered, and played some of the instruments.) It was recorded in their farmhouse in rural PA. This isn’t really a story of that record, which is yet to come. One of the songs I demoed was called Hand Coming Down. (The title, as the song, was changed at the last minute.) On the demo it has a bluesy feel, sounding somewhat like some of the work Paul Westerberg has done in the last 10 yrs, but slightly spookier. It is a one chord song, which Dave had encouraged me to write some months earlier, long before there were any plans to work together. The thing about a one chord song is that, due to its simplicity, you can take it almost anywhere.
Through the collective will of everyone, we decided to take it in more of a European direction. Bands like The Cure, Joy Division, and Bauhaus were mentioned. The musical track, recorded live, but without vocals, turned infinitely more spooky and menacing.
I sang the demo version, but when it came time to cut the vocal for it, I knew my brother was the only one that could do the vibe of the song justice. We talked, before he cut it, about going in more of a David Bowie/Iggy Pop route vocally, as all of us love the work the two of them did together in the 70’s. My brother knocked it out of the park.
The point of this story is not to talk about the record, but to point out that here in 2016, there is still music being made that is still directly influenced by the work that Bowie did many moons back. We all know that, and we know it will continue. Just last year I became fully reimbursed in the recordings of Bowie’s Berlin period. This year, I started to also reinvestigate the albums that he made with Iggy Pop. My brother has long been a torch bearer for Bowie’s work.
And although I see the world as random, last night, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was watching a movie about Marlene Dietrich. The documentary was called Marlene. In it she sings a slow melancholy version of Just a Gigolo. Bowie is in the cafe with her, dressed stylishly, sitting at a table slightly removed from the main action. It had a dreamy resigned quality to it. And even though I don’t believe in such things, when I heard the news today, it seemed like last night the universe was speaking to me. It was a goodbye to someone who’s work I have loved very much over the years. It was one of those moments that makes you question things, if only for a moment, before you realize that you should know better…