I was happily off the clock last weekend at the Springsteen show in Brooklyn, until Bruce opened with “Purple Rain.” By the time the show hit “Backstreets” I had an idea of what I thought I wanted to say, and woke up Sunday morning and basically let the piece write itself. My debut for NPR Music.
Rounding up my work following the man’s passing:
- Salon.com: “Look up, I’m in heaven”: Bowie’s haunting farewell “Blackstar” is a triumph
- Bitter Empire: Thank God Ambitious Bootleggers Preserved A David Bowie and Stevie Ray Vaughan Rehearsal
- Salon.com: Bowie’s Live Aid magic: An unforgettable show, from the spine-tingling “Heroes” to his audacious “Dancing in the Street” duet
- Village Voice: DAVID BOWIE’S BEST LIVE MUSIC MOMENTS IN NYC (Also in the print issue out today)
I went down to Lafayette Street last night, a thing I never would have done had the man not left us. But I heard about the tribute from a friend that lived downtown and felt the need to pay my respects.
David Bowie never waited for the light to change before crossing.
David Bowie could finish the Friday crossword.
David Bowie wouldn’t lean on the pole during rush hour.
When the news came through last night, I poured a glass of whiskey and put on End of the Century, because I wanted to watch all of them alive and talking and and I didn’t want to have to scroll through YouTube and start curating. I just wanted to be with them for a little while.
There were no more Ramones in the world. They were all gone.
Back in the early 80s, I was lost in the back alleys of Amsterdam on a dark, foggy night. I opened the door to a bar, just to find my bearings and take a break. The interior was dark and smoky and I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not. Then, the jukebox kicked into “Vicious” and I relaxed, knowing without a doubt that this place would be just fine.
Variations on this scene have been repeated in Germany and Boston, Tel Aviv and Atlanta, and of course, right here in New York fuckin’ City. Lou Reed on the jukebox says, we are different here. Lou Reed on the jukebox says, different is okay here. Lou Reed on the jukebox says ‘home’.
Bleecker Bob’s closed today, and like the end of CBGB’s, I find myself lamenting the end of a place I hadn’t been to in years. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need or want the Village to be turned into more of an NYU-blanded mall than it already is, and I genuinely miss the days that I could wander the streets and find odd mom and pop shops who carried interesting things.
But I always had a conflicted relationship with Bleecker Bob’s.
This is obnoxious and obscene and don’t let your kids listen to it. Or if you’re a kid listening to it, just don’t tell your parents.
This was their first single. I heard it on WNYU, which is where I first heard of the Beastie Boys. I may or may not have seen them play as a hardcore band, back in the 80s I once tried to figure it out but never could. I do know that I took my life into my hands going out to the Capitol Theater in Passaic to see them, back when they had the go-go dancers in the cages, and scalped tickets in front of the Garden when they opened for Madonna on the Like A Virgin tour. (Really, I wanted to see Madonna, but the Beasties just made it more interesting.)
I cut this exact ad out of the New York Times one Sunday, and hung it on my bedroom wall. I couldn’t go into the city to see it, but went down to Ridgeway Cinemas one Saturday afternoon to see it, all on my own. When it was done — before it was done, even — I had gone out to the pay phone to call home and ask if I could stay to see it again. It wasn’t because I thought it was amazing (although I certainly did think that), it was because it was so enormous, so mind-blowing, so more-than-I-ever-thought to my 14 year old brain that I couldn’t possibly take it all in at once, so I stopped trying and told myself, “Don’t worry, it’s a movie, you can just see it again.”