In 6th grade I went to Madison square Garden to see David Bowie on the Heros tour. (with my sister and Sheila M!!). Everyone around me was smoking pot and the next day I bragged at school that I got a “contact high.” I had heard my parents use the expression and I thought I was too cool, having seen David Bowie and breathed in pot fumes. The cool boys in the class that I was trying to impress cracked up at how square I was. I was square with the drugs, but not with the sounds. They smoked pot already but they had no idea who David Bowie was.
I hand dyed a tee shirt purple and wrote on it with a permanent black marker “This ain’t rock and roll, this is genocide.” They had no idea. I did. I wore I proudly, it gave me power even if no one else understood.
I lived in manhattan, uptown on 215th street, might as well have been any small town anywhere. We had the heavy ny accent but it was still a place you needed to escape from, it was small in terms of dreams and freedom and life. David Bowie was one of the first of many bands that showed me that there was another way, much bigger and beautifuller and free-er.
Bowie was part of the soundtrack of the whole process, when it did get free-er and beautifuller. A thousand times I danced half dressed in glitter eye makeup to Rebel Rebel while spinning the vinyl, finally blooming.
I just played a show this very weekend in glitter hot pants. “I’ll be a rock and roll bitch for you,” yep. I am inspired again and again.
Man, this man saved millions of us, changed millions of us, inspired millions of us, gave hope, lit the way. And he stayed contemporary, a true artist. Respect to you, sir. I am not sad. I don’t think I am in shock, though I might be, I think I am just in cosmic awe.