The ‘Burg reflects on the incredible life of music icon David Bowie.
Tayler Shaindlin (AKA Crazy Catt Tayler)
David Bowie was the man who single handedly discovered time travel; because you, no matter your age, demographic, sexuality, whatever, had met Bowie as someone completely different than the person next to you. A man who was so unapologetically himself, no matter how many himself’s there actually were was such a comfort and a source of inspiration for millions all over the world. Not only as an inspiration in the music industry, but because there were millions of weirdos, outcasts and freaks who knew that if it was okay for him to be who he was, then it was okay for them to be themselves too.
As someone who has been nothing if not completely smitten with theatre since birth, David Bowie was absolutely inescapable. But no matter how many times he was heard or talked about, nobody had anything even remotely negative to say about him. He was a man who seemed to be able to escape the ridicule, the judgment, and be able to show his art as something that could be universally loved. In doing this, he created a song for the normal people to enjoy, and a song for the outcasts to identify with. Those who did not fall within the narrow-boundaries of what makes a ‘man’ were suddenly able to embrace themselves in a way I don’t think we can ever thank that man enough for.
Just remember, if you’re sad about his passing, find comfort in the fact that the earth is 5 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie. It seems as though we were so excited about his return with Blackstar that we failed to notice he was saying goodbye.
Goodbye, dear friend. And thank you.
Travis Box (AKA Ken Obi)
I’m old, relatively. At 45, I hold the position of elder at the station, whether I would like that honor yet or not. I don’t say that to illicit pity or some self-deprecating jab at today’s youth, I only bring up my age to give some historical context to what we have lost with the passing of David Bowie.
David Bowie wore many generational artistic masks. Every age has “Their Bowie”, and at the same time, we can stake claim to his entire body of work.
At 45, I’m a child of the 80s. My Bowie is the synth-tinged, pop-driven, Let’s Dance, Bowie. Perfectly coiffed hair and tanned, crooning about his China Girl, or putting on his red shoes to dance the blues.
In the late 80s, I had the good fortune of seeing Bowie on the Glass Spider Tour as he made a stop in Portland. Duran Duran, who were arguably one of the biggest acts at the time, OPENED for Bowie. Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor put on a great show, but Bowie put on something more. From the staging to the costumes, this transcended a mere concert, this was sound + vison. This was art.
David Bowie only did work that interested him, which allowed him, each time of his choosing, a sandbox that he had never played in before. Bowie’s numerous reinventions were never arbitrary, they were crafted, backstory curated, hair and costume tailored to highlight the music, lyrics, style. Generational trendsetter and prophetic mirror, reflecting the best and worst in us.
Space Oddity and the absurdity of a world obsessed with the voyage to the stars. Ziggy Stardust, creating and capturing the androgynous nature of glam rock. Changes, Suffragette City, Diamond Dogs, The Man Who Sold The World, Blue Jean, Golden Years, Young Americans, Modern Love.
Even in his swan song, Lazarus, Bowie made and gave us art from his impending (and unbeknownst to us, all too sudden) death.
This was a man who never seemed that he was satisfied with any attempt at words or music or style to suit him, at any given moment, any generational point. Maybe this line captures the heart of David Bowie more than any, a line that gives us insight to what drove him to be a true artist until the day he was gone…
“And every time I thought I’d got it made, It seemed the taste was not so sweet…”
Farwell, you dark, mad, brilliant prince.
Nick Oliver (AKA DJ DIRTY SNOWBALL)
When David Bowie Died the world lost an innovator, an artist, a humanitarian, and a beautiful soul. David Bowie made thousands of disenfranchised teens feel like they weren’t alone in the universe and that it was ok to be different and it was ok to be outside of the the norm.Ziggy Stardust was the personification of sexual confusion, originality,and the thousands of kids that felt left out. He was a mover and a shaker of social norms and paved the way for artists like the Sex Pistols, Lady GaGa, FKA Twigs, Kurt Cobain, and The Clash. He will be missed and his influence will be felt.
Rune Torgerson (AKA DJ Dane)
I think it’s impossible to talk of David Bowie and his impact on pop culture, not to mention culture as a whole, without raving about the kind of ridiculous trend-setter the man was. Ever since he stopped trying to start a band and started venturing into the limelight as a solo artist, David Bowie pushed the envelope as far as it could go, in multiple directions. From Ziggy Stardust to The Thin White Duke, from Glam Rock to experimental Electronic, he set the bar for those who follow in his footsteps, and turned all he touched to gold. But, perhaps most importantly, the complete disregard with which he treated classically accepted gender roles in his stage performances, and the way in which he carried himself as a whole (especially during his Ziggy Stardust years), and the enthusiasm this was met with by his fans, of which there were, and are, many, let the world know that was a thing that was OK. One of the biggest reasons I personally look up to David Bowie is the message he championed in every moment of his long and fruitful career. A sort of invitation to throw social and cultural norms to the wind and embrace the strange, in ourselves as well as those around us. To let your freak flag fly and be as weird as you feel the need to be. It’s a message echoed by many since then, namely Queen, Peter Gabriel, and, more recently, Lady Gaga. With his passing, I can only hope Mr. Bowie was fully aware of deep and lasting impact he had on music, as well as culture at large. He will be dearly missed.
Russell Widner (AKA Bumper Jumper)
“Saying Good-Bye to the Starman Himself”
How do you talk about a life like David Bowie’s? Seriously, talk about someone whose influence reached almost everyone in one way or another! I am going to attempt to pay my tribute to David Bowie with a personal story; because, my first experience with Bowie can be summed up with an assortment of quotes from Bowie’s hit song “Starman”.
– “Didn’t know what time it was and the lights were low. I leaned back on my radio. Some cat was layin’ down some rock ‘n’ roll ‘lotta soul” My first David Bowie experience was actually via the radio, and I can still remember thinking to myself “I gotta know who this is, this is crazy good music!”. I called the radio station that was playing the song and found out that it was a song called “Suffragette City” made back in the 70s by some guy named David Bowie. – “I had to phone someone so I picked on you. Hey, that’s far out so you heard him too!” I later asked my parents if they knew who David Bowie was, and my mom proceeded to break out 3 different cassette tapes of Bowie’s albums. “Let’s Dance”, “Diamond Dogs”, and “Ziggy Stardust”. I was shocked to realize that this person I had just discovered was, in fact, a major musician with incredible skills and variety.
– “Let the children lose it. Let the children use it. Let all the children boogie” Naturally, I started listening to those albums almost daily. I couldn’t believe one man could write a solid rock hit like “Suffragette City” and then 10 years later come out with one of the best pop songs I have ever heard (“Let’s Dance”). Bowie showed people that you can reinvent yourself and create incredible music without needing to stay true to one genre. According to Tony Visconti, Bowie’s producer: “he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way”. I cannot think of a better way to describe a person like David Bowie, he did what he loved for the people who loved him. David Bowie will be missed dearly by the world, but I would also like to think that somewhere out there “There’s a Starman, waiting in the sky. He’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds”. Rest in peace David Bowie, you blew my mind when I was young, and wherever you are now, I am sure you are working on something that will blow all of our minds when it comes our turn to join you.
Tanner Chambers (AKA Tanner the Intern)
David Bowie is much more than a multi-grammy winning artist. In 1967 the world was introduced to David Bowie and would see countless changes in him musically and personally until the day of his death. Bowie taught the world that it is okay to be yourself and shook the music industry’s standard by making himself a pop chameleon by adapting and changing each of his 25 albums to make them relevant.
Although I’m not Bowie’s biggest fan, I can’t help but to feel pain for music lovers everywhere. Bowie inspired so many people to love themselves in various forms and platforms. Bowie was the first musician to bend gender norms and thanks to David Bowie’s domination of pop charts, his message was conveyed in a popular and progressive way.
Tim Mitchell (AKA Tim the Music Director)
Leaving behind a tremendous catalog of anthemic rock hits, foot-stomping disco, and spacious power ballads, the great David Bowie has retired his life along with his career in simultaneous harmony. As an experimental artist, Bowie pushed gender-normative standards with his iconic wardrobes and masks while satisfying his audience with a buffet of legendary pop tunes. For me personally, there was comfort in knowing that Bowie was able to quietly secure his fans of multiple generations through every new studio album. He was a grandfather, and he took care of us as such. We’ll miss him.