By Devon “Doc” Wendell ( Dedicated to Pietro Scorsone)
A close friend recently tried to point out to me how “lucky” my life is to always have been in professions that have allowed me to be around many of my musical idols and heroes. I’ve never looked at it like that. Not even close. From my experience, heroes tend to disappoint you when you meet them or have to work with them in some capacity. And although the awful redundancies of rock n’ roll most often match up with the awful redundancies of life, neither of these depressing realities were the case with David Bowie.
I met Bowie at several New York City art gallery openings and industry parties over the years and he was just as intriguing, charming, and magnetic off stage as he was on. He never disappointed me, quite the contrary. He was always dressed immaculately and smelled like a million bucks. He was a consummate intellectual and a master conversationalist. I remember him laughing and putting people on but not in some malicious way. He was constantly observing the world around him with a keen and playful eye.
Bowie knew a lot about jazz and I was lucky enough to have had lengthy discussions with him on the works of Max Roach and Eric Dolphy. How incredible is that? Bowie was a chameleon. He could morph into many different characters and take on a variety of attitudes and moods. This could often be dangerous because once you start down that road, it can get difficult to leave the characters onstage. They become a part of you and reality can get quite blurry in the process. This can consume you and leave you following many illusions but Bowie always managed to maintain control of it all.
Like his old comrade Lou Reed, Bowie helped bring rock n’ roll into the avant-garde with originality and sincerity. The rock n’ roll landscape was expanded by his many visions.When listening to Bowie, you see with clarity that anything is possible in music; that rock n’ roll could reach farther than simply trying to emulate old American R&B and blues records.
As soon as one Bowie record would be released, I would already start anticipating the next one and no two Bowie explorations were even remotely alike. Is there anything on this earth that even slightly resembles his departing album Blackstar? Not in your life. Bowie made the most beautifully transcendent piece of art out of the acceptance of his ultimate and final journey from this planet with Blackstar. No one else could have pulled this off as eloquently as Bowie did. He didn’t disappoint in death either. That is the beauty and alchemy of David Bowie.
Bowie never aged like the rest of us mortals and I never imagined him dying under any circumstance. If I had, I would have envisioned him creating some grand piece of theatrical and musical performance art out of death and in the process discovering some brilliant loophole that would have somehow enabled him to transcend mortality. That endless electricity and those kaleidoscopic perspectives on the universe that his music gave us would make this notion seem not so far fetched. If anyone could have done it, it would have been him. But David Bowie is gone. Before you let this fact bring you down too far, look at all of the loving live tributes to his legacy taking place all over the world. Look at how people of all races, religions, and backgrounds are expressing their love for this man on social media and in the press. Most of all, listen to the music. The immortality exists there and no wretched force of nature will ever be able to change that no matter how powerful. – Goodbye David.