The Bowie factor

I was a middle-class migrant worker for most of my adolescence because my father believed in hard work. I started at twelve in California picking bruised plums up off the ground to be dried for prunes. I walked acres of soy beans in Illinois, pulling weeds too small for equipment or chemicals. In Iowa, I detasseled corn, sorted tiny machine parts and clerked at a gas ‘n go mini-mart. I babysat children across several Midwestern states. I had a substantial if unglamorous resume, and yet had not actually interviewed for any of these jobs. My agricultural gigs were arranged through friends or family connections.

Although not ungrateful for the help I had received, by my first year of college I was ready to change my line of work.  I noticed a “help wanted” sign in the window of my favorite record store and applied immediately. I was so excited. What kid doesn’t dream of working in a lair-like record store, painted posters hanging off the walls, new bands blaring, boxes and boxes of hot-off-the-press records and cassette tapes stacked in the corner? The manager called within a few days and set up an interview.

The day of the interview, I paced the store waiting for the store manager, absently leafing through albums. I realized my desire to work at a hip store might have clouded my judgment. Up to this point I had worked at jobs that didn’t require much more than walking, breathing and surviving the work. Here I was, about to be interviewed for the first time for a job that fifty other people wanted and I was not a shoe-in candidate.       

I was not cool. I had yet to transition successfully from the seventies to the eighties—no layered hair, no shoulder pads, no shiny neon belt crisscrossing an off-the-shoulder jersey tunic. My jaws were wired shut. I had recently had jaw surgery and was recovering with full closure, less than a half inch between my teeth. I stuttered, even through the wiring, the repetitive movements causing me to jerk and grimace in pain every now and then on hard consonants. And on top of all else, my musical tastes ran rather eccentric for a nineteen year old.

All of these limitations made the first part of the interview excruciating for me and my interviewer. Her questions were basic, my answers halting, awkward, and the antics of broken speech through an immobile mouth must have been distracting.  Things started to wind down when I couldn’t name any of the current Billboard hits. She set down the clip board, our shared discomfort almost over.

I sat back and my eyes wandered to a David Bowie poster on the wall above her desk. Without thinking, I murmured reverently, “Bowie.” She looked up. “What do you know about Bowie?” she asked.

Perhaps because I knew I had failed. Perhaps because I knew the interview was over. Perhaps because Bowie has a way of commanding any stage, I started talking. I said I had seen David Bowie on “The Midnight Special” when I was younger and became obsessed. I loved the way he teased us, mixing male and female, human and alien, man and diamond dog. He was the ultimate trickster god, flickering in and out of the shadows of rock and roll banality, playing music beyond time, scraping the edges of harmony, a mix of magic and cacophony, always risky, never boring, I would stare into those crazy colored eyes on the cover of greatest hits one and the words called to a hidden wildness, “making love with his ego, Ziggy sucked up into his mind …” I had seen every movie, every video, and could name all his musical stages by name and discography.         

The poster was from a concert–one of many the manager had attended through the years. She was a huge fan, the only one in the store, “until now.” I got the job and worked there for five years.

This memory of my first job interview came back to me as I was flying home from a day of interviewing other people. Twenty years later, I now teach managers like the record store manager how to interview to determine the right fit for their stores. Occasionally I get out and support the hiring process myself. As with all practical knowledge, teaching how and actually doing are very different experiences.

Teaching people how to interview is like teaching algebra or baking a cake. Students learn a formula, and if they follow the steps with precision and discipline, they should get a consistently recognizable result. The formula is simple: put the candidate at ease; ask a few questions that they expect and probably prepped in the car to get things going; make a silent decision; confirm or refute this decision with a series of more complex, probing questions; use various techniques to facilitate discussion; give some sort of spiel if applicable; be non-committal when you close. Of course there are issues of questions, legalities, non-verbal behaviors, dos and don’ts on the part of the interviewer; it goes on for eight hours of class time. We role play and the students leave clutching outlines and articles, believing they can sort the sheep from the goats with ease.

When I move from the podium to the interviewer’s chair, supposedly making actual career life and death decisions, I have trouble sticking to the structure I preach. My mind wanders to irrelevant questions, “You worked at a zoo?” “That is a great handbag! Where did you get it?” “Wow, you majored in anthropology and theater? Let’s talk about dramatic ritual in ancient societies!” I confuse finding the proper corporate player with finding potential lunch dates. I’ve hired many wonderful people, but also a few that turned out to be mentally ill, some unable to talk to strangers and a couple of thieves. 

I love the theory that an interviewing strategy can give us the power to judge objectively. If we assume we can structure and control human interaction, we can predict to what extent present behavior will translate into a future standard of performance.  We imagine that a right answer, “I love to be greeted when I walk in a store,” means that this candidate in turn will greet our customers. It is intellectually satisfying to posit but the support data is sketchy. People with sloppy interviewing skills sometimes hire winners and the slickest, cleverest conversationalists make poor choices.  There is something else at play that the methodology can’t seem to capture, something we are searching for that cannot be quantified or tracked. There was no logical reason I should have been hired at the record store. A random comment happens to elicit a shared passion. One more minute and I would have been gone.

For all my expertise, every time I have a live person in front of me, I wonder whether or not they like Bowie.

Last week’s hiring event was no exception. It was a case study assignment for me—prescreened applicants, part-time positions, lots of interviewers. I chatted with several lovely people, nice answers all about service, product and brand, warm, well-spoken, right out of the text books.

Then I sat down with “Jane.” She was an older woman, with a plain bun and a dark, Amish-inspired suit. Despite this apparent lack of style or trend awareness, something we do assess in our environment, she had a spark in her eye and a wiry, buzzing physicality in the way she moved. She seemed younger than she looked. The interview went fine, but I was thinking she might be quaint or out of touch and was worried that her primary work kept her relatively isolated. How would she fare in our diverse, chaotically populated world? I asked her this question. She thought for a minute and then started talking.

Her answer stunned me. It seemed that she was mining and assembling her ideas from unique depths of collective wisdom.  Building in confidence and volume, she spoke with genuine wonder at how people help each other, how we seek each other out, and how much she learns every day from these chance encounters. I heard in her voice voices that had moved me before, echoing Tom Joad saying, “I’ll be there,” Martin Luther King’s dream, George Harrison telling us the sun is out and it’s alright, the human wave at a ball game, Mulder telling Scully he is nothing without her, Free to Be You and Me, Sam carrying Frodo the rest of the way up Mount Doom, finishing the AIDS walk holding hands and singing he ain’t heavy.

I started to cry—not blubbery boohoo, but definite misty tears. This is generally not recommended in interviewer protocol. It disrupts the power balance, gives an artificial sense of validation, and snot can smear the application ink. But I gave in, surrendering to this blissfully subjective Bowie moment.

I pulled myself together and discussed her availability. Pay. Training dates. I offered her the job. She may last a week. She may last five years. We can only speculate that she is the right person after a thirty minute conversation.

Scripts, rote process, all of those comforting rules that make us feel in control are useful; my job security depends on people believing that they are effective. But I am ever the skeptic of my own shtick, waiting for the moment when the right question will meet the right person and I will discover not just a potential employee but maybe, just maybe, an unexpected, completely spontaneous connection.

A fabulously right answer.


45 responses to “The Bowie factor”

  1. I thought at first that I was finally going to get your extended ruminations on Bowie, which I’d still love to hear some day, but this was even better — maybe because I didn’t expect it.

    This is maybe the best sentence I’ve ever read from you, P:

    I heard in her voice voices that had moved me before, echoing Tom Joad saying, “I’ll be there,” Martin Luther King’s dream, George Harrison telling us the sun is out and it’s alright, the human wave at a ball game, Mulder telling Scully he is nothing without her, Free to Be You and Me, Sam carrying Frodo the rest of the way up Mount Doom, finishing the AIDS walk holding hands and singing he ain’t heavy.

    It was funny — and totally effective — all at once.

  2. Rachel says:

    Great stuff, PB. Most of us have more experience being the one in the supplicant’s chair, and thinking about it from the other side is a huge paradigm shift. I love that your post performed that exact move, from the Bowie poster to the Amish-suited lady.

  3. hey p — i had the thought today that 1) i am the only TGWer who’s actually been *interviewed* by you for a job and worked for you, and i can attest to what an amazing interviewer, manager, and trainer you are, but more to the point 2) i think you could write a kickass book using the title of this post — a hip, pop-culture savvy, best-selling management manual that would be so much more refreshing than all that 7 habits bullshit. You should seriously think about it! maybe tim could be your agent.

  4. MB says:

    And to think for all these years I’ve been listening to your worry that corporate life was killing your creativity(!?)… Far from it. It’s just been festering and fermenting, and now bubbling out with some pretty interesting things to say.

  5. Jeremy says:

    What a wonderful post, PB. A year ago, I was on my first hiring committee, interviewing teachers, and it was difficult to get past the fact that I had been sweating it on the other side of the table as the interviewee not too long before that. I kept thinking, what makes me qualified to judge these people?

    Anyway, I know at least one GWer who would disagree with your self-assessment that you were “not cool,” since I’ve been told that loving Bowie is the numer-one criterion for coolness. (Unfortunately, that makes me not very cool.)

  6. Stephanie Wells says:

    Yes, that would be me he’s referring to, and I relate to this post on so many levels: worshiping Bowie is the first, of course, but also being on that hiring committee withJeremy and realizing just how much came down to, after seeing who the good teachers were, just who we actually liked and wanted to be colleagues with. And that has a LOT to do with the spontaneous connection you describe. Finally, I too worked at a record store (Rasputin, on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley) and was in total dreamland every day as I alphabetized albums (yes, albums) and CDs in my cut-off overalls. You are living a parallel existence to me in many ways, it seems, though writing about it better than I ever could!

  7. Lane says:

    “since I’ve been told that loving Bowie is the numer-one criterion for coolness. (Unfortunately, that makes me not very cool.)”

    Whoever told you this is flat out wrong. Bowie is O.K. but not . . .like Mick Jagger or anything, he’s a little overrated.

    Take it from me, because I am really cool.

  8. PB says:

    Thems fighting words Lane, cool as you may be.

  9. Stephanie Wells says:

    She’s right; she’s SO right. Ahem, but anyone who has ever seen the vidow for “Dancin’ in the Streets” would never even start this argument, because while Bowie may be sporting an admittedly cheesy parachute-thin trenchcoat over some sort of wrongheaded camouflage suit, he’s still scowling through his smirk at the ludicrousness of it all. Meanwhile, Mick is rocking a poufy green silk blouse like one of the Golden Girls, plus also too, forty-pleat pants and white Reeboks as he jogs in place screaming “Barce-LO-na! South A-MERI-ca!” in a fashion that can only be described as buffoonish. They go head-to-head for who is the least cool here, and Jagger definitely wins.

    It’s worth watching just for the shot where they wag their butts in slo-mo unison at the camera, though.

  10. Lisa Tremain says:

    Not to mention that Bowie has reconstructed himself in so many wonderful ways (pre-Madonna, inspiring Madonna?), while Mick Jagger has had the same haircut and pouty look for, like, 45 years.

    Count me heavily on the Bowie Side of this argument. Here’s some data: Google hits for Bowie: 34,100,000. Mick Jagger: 6,990,000.

    Now what?

  11. Lane says:

    Bowie OPENED for Moby.

    That was the most uncool thing ever, believe me, I was there.

    Beggars Banquet – 68
    Let it Bleed – 69
    Sticky Fingers – 71
    Exile on Mainstreet – 72

    Don’t get me wrong, Bowie is cool. At least as cool as Ringo Starr.

    But . . . let’s keep it in perspective.

  12. Lisa Parrish says:

    Bowie once ripped off a photographer friend of mine. He also goes out of his way now to deny his well-documented bisexual proclivities from the 60s and 70s. Okay, dude, you’re straight. It’s important, we know.

    Anti-Bowie. Definitely.

  13. Lisa Parrish says:

    That said, I love “The Bowie Factor.” Excellent post, PB. Per usual.

  14. Jeremy says:

    Bowie? Jagger? They’re both dorks.

  15. Stephanie Wells says:

    It’s true that he claimed it proudly in the early ‘70s, then denied it in the mid-‘80s. Many people see the original claim as a publicity stunt, but this quote from 2002 (in Blender) makes it seem like the denial was the stunt, not the original claim:

    Q: “You once said that saying you were bisexual was “the biggest mistake I ever made.” Do you still believe that?”

    DB: “Interesting. [Long pause] I don’t think it was a mistake in Europe, but it was a lot tougher in America. I had no problem with people knowing I was bisexual. But I had no inclination to hold any banners or be a representative of any group of people. I knew what I wanted to be, which was a songwriter and a performer, and I felt that [bisexuality] became my headline over here for so long. America is a very puritanical place, and I think it stood in the way of so much I wanted to do.”

    Not that his denying it at all isn’t hugely problematic, even in the American ‘80s, but it seems he’s no longer doing that. Many of us don’t always fully publicize our true sexual preferences for professional reasons, though I know it’s a bit different in his case when he was so known for it (and professionally helped by it) previously. But just to set the record straight.

  16. Stephanie Wells says:

    p.s. No pun intended.

  17. 12: He’s certainly not alone. Anyone remember Lou Reed’s song “I love women”? Methinks he entered the 80s protesting too much. Bowie entered the 80s riding high with Scary Monsters — and that was after he had delivered 3 amazing collaborations with Eno (while Jagger was doing what — writing “Shattered”?).

    5 and 7: I’m so glad I get to bitch-slap you both at the same time, and so early on a Saturday morning, but you two share a serious character flaw on this point. Pandora, you say the word and we’ll finally drag these dorks out back and shoot them. Bacon — are you in? We’ve had this argument before, Lane, and you’re just wrong.

    I certainly sort people out by their response to Bowie. (I have ever since Bacon initiated me — after I scandalized him with my ignorance and apparent lack of taste on this point — by shipping me some key works from Amazon.)

    11: It was a festival. Technically people aren’t opening for others. You’re right, it was a little soggy and sad, and of course it *was* Moby curating the show and going on last, but let’s wait until you’re his age and see how you do in front of a crowd that size in the rain.

    12: Who cares what he did or said in the mid-80s? It was a dark, dark time.

    10 and 15: I miss you guys! One of the highlights of my summer (since I’ll apparently never get around to writing this up) was dancing to Bowie on a jukebox at Lisa Tremain’s birthday party in some badass little dive with wood paneling on the walls and vinyl booths. And then looking over and watching SWells watch the dancers with a smile on her face. There’s no doubt that Bowie elicited a better response from the crowd than anything else that night: “Ashes to Ashes, Funk to Funky — We know Major Tom’s a Junkie”? Pure deliciousness. And it’s got a beat you can dance to.

  18. Lane says:

    Good God your thorough! – “Give this man tenure!”

  19. PB says:

    All I can say is, Bowie has been making music for 40 years and he can still generate this kind of heated conversation, with STATISTICS. That is really the brilliance to me, not just the music which can go from weird to fun to transcendent in one album, but the audacity. He is a true alchemist in the sense that it is more about the creative process of the art than the result. Melting and reconfiguring the feel, the outfit, the hair, the instrumentation, the hype, the colors, the covers, the whole presentation every single time he steps out. He uses us, tells us anything that will get our attention and then pulls the rug out just when we think we get it. You don’t have to love the music (although I can’t imagine not finding at least one song in the mix that could undeniably get under even the toughest skin) but really, if cool is a line in the sand between the person who is already in the next room and the trailing masses, then Bowie is “cool” royalty.
    Although, I do agree with you on one point Lane, Bryan should get tenure.

  20. thanks for that vote of confidence, lane, but i actually did leave out something i had wanted to comment on: #9 is the best comment ever!

  21. Lane says:

    O.K. I know this is stupid to keep thinking about this. What bugs me about David Bowie *fans* more than David Bowie himself is the blindspot to how much CRAP David Bowie has produced.

    David Bowie is as *cool* as Prince. And just as erratic. He’s made some great music but he’s also made some real crap.

  22. PB says:

    The best part is . . . he dosn’t give a shit what we all think.
    That is real cool.
    Lane, check out the song “kooks” on Bowie at the BEEB. Crap, but cute crap.
    The papa in you might like it.

  23. #21 — who hasn’t? even lennon and mccartney have serious blotches on their discographies. don’t most painters have some clunkers in their bag?

    #22 — i’ve been on him for a long time, one song at at time. “kooks” is a good call though. it’s not operatic, which is what he hates about bowie.

    #4 — i also have a great memory of missy and bacon going head to head with their bowie geekiness one winter in DC. and then moving on to zeppelin.

  24. Stephanie Wells says:

    Of course he’s made crap–who hasn’t? It’s like loving Neil Young–you have to choke down a lot of “A Man Needs a Maid” to get to the “Cowgirl in the Sand” at the bottom of the bowl, but it’s totally worth it (just like it’s worth skipping through the, gulp, Kirstie Alley voiceovers on “Diamonds and Pearls” to get to “Seven” or “Blue Light.” So is Prince not cool either?). Bowie’s “crap” is so much more interesting, and less plentiful, than most other long-standing artists’ that who cares if he released “Modern Love” when everyone else was making, like, “Dancin’ on the Ceiling”? Or, um, “She’s So Cold” for that matter? “Start Me Up,” anyone? Anyone? Also, I’d like to clarify that while the conversation has made me act like I’m polarized between the two, I make that choice as a Stones fan who who considers them the quintessential rock band of all time, even though they’re not in my personal top ten. But let’s be honest: Mick isn’t even the coolest Rolling Stone. (And how come no one’s mad that HE didn’t really cop to his bisexuality after Angie found him in bed with DB?)

    And again, even as someone whose bedroom walls sported “I Heart Ringo” buttons throughout high school (go ahead, fire away, I deserve it), I must ask, RINGO STARR? That’s a bit below the belt, Lane . . . but I gotta hand it to you, very skillfully played for getting the glam geek fan club all hot under their (our) boas . . .! I did gasp and then laugh out loud at the audacity of it.

    Finally, Bryan, thanks for all the sugar! but I have to confess that I have a huge, quivering weak spot for “Shattered . . . ” do you still respect me now, after all this chitta chatta chitta chitta chatta ‘bout schmata schmata schmata? To write on this site, you must be tough tough tough tough tough!

  25. Scott Godfrey says:

    I’ve been so happy to bow-out of this debate, particularly because of the point Steph just made so well: Jagger isn’t even the coolest Stone.

    I’m in, however, for the crap factor. I knew poor Neil would be dragged into the fray when ya’ll started talking about the crappy to good music factor. Layoff the poor man, he’s smoked a lot of pot, okay? Blame the drugs, not the artist.

  26. i like shattered too. it’s so new york in the late 70s–their sad (but infectious) attempt to sound like the kids downtown.

    but i also like “modern love” and “a man needs a maid.” has anyone heard m. ward’s cover of “let’s dance”? that’s when i realized that even bad mid-80s bowie was salvagable.

    i also really love the stones stretch lane outlined. but i probably like the bowie/eno records a little bit more.

  27. scott and stephanie — what are you guys doing awake so early? this obviously isn’t a sushi morning after for you guys. btw, last time we went out for sushi with friends we played by your rules. i’m never going back.

  28. Lane says:

    judging and artist by their lowest moments. this is a good idea. When the Rolling stones are bad they are either fake country, or bad honky tonk. Both pretty lame.

    When Neil Young is bad he’s all “proto-indie rock” I kind of like this.

    When the John Lennon is bad he’s bad doo-wop. BAD

    When Paul McCartney is bad he’s a Victorian sentimentalist. AWFUL!

    Now when Prince is bad he’s bad funk soul. Now I’ll adnit this stuff is really bad but I personally find it interesting. And yes this is because I’m from the whitest state in the union .

    When David Bowie is bad he’s operatic, like Meat Loaf. Admit it, he’s stylistic roots are in common with MEAT LOAF! It’s bad juvinile white OPERA. This is bad.

    And hey being as cool as Ringo? We should all be so lucky.

  29. Scott Godfrey says:

    Okay Lane, the gloves are coming off. Bat Out Of Hell (songs by Jim Steinman) is one of the most poignantly ironic collection of rock anthems ever written, performed, or recorded. A mask of seriousness blinds those who can’t see this. Put the tongue in that cheek and give it another listen. Trust me on this.

  30. Scott Godfrey says:

    Yes Bryan, last night was a stay home and do some reading night. We will be partying heartily tonight, however. Jeremy, Tim and Jen, Lisa T, and Nikki will be coming over to Casa de Chimpy for some pate, champagne, and games. Wish you and many others could come along. Jet Blue may be having a sale.

  31. some of us like opera.

    we had a sort of recordclubbish dinner party once where julie turley played a song from bat out of hell. i’d never owned it so i popped it in my laptop and ripped it. it’s on my ipod. its songs inevitably make me smile.

  32. I sat back and my eyes wandered to a David Bowie poster on the wall above her desk. Without thinking, I murmured reverently, “Bowie.”

    Dave and I found ourselves repeating this line — even reenacting the scene — this morning. It’s such a great image, Pandora.

  33. Stephanie Wells says:

    Lane, I’m obsessed with your idea of rating artists by their lowest point. Scott and I often discuss which artists have had the greatest “falls from grace” but this might be even better. I’m with you on poor Paul McCartney and how low he can sink, but I have to admit that another of my favorite Stones songs is “Sweet Virginia”–I keep latching onto the ones you guys bring up as examples of their worst, so now who’s got the bad taste?

  34. PB says:

    How about rating an artist by their most bizzare collaborator. . . Bowie wins again!
    Bing Crosby!
    Individually interesting, together very very bad, very, very bad.

  35. Stephanie Wells says:

    See, I even like that.

  36. Jeremy says:

    I like Bowie in that movie with the Muppets: Labyrinth.

  37. Ruben Mancillas says:

    And the moral of the story is…don’t screw with Steph’s Davy Jones! This is like a Brady Bunch episode but we’re all just a little older and (hopefully) more cool than Marcia and her fan club.

    I really liked Pandora’s post-judging others by our own tastes may not always be pretty but it just feels so right, doesn’t it?

    It can get tricky though-basing too much on a question about a deeply held cultural preference. A couple of years ago a coworker questioned me as to my feelings on Bob Dylan. I was surprised because he seemed like a far right reactionary but I told him my favorite albums-Blood on the Tracks, Before The Flood (with The Band), and Oh Mercy- and songs and waited for us to bond. He explained that it was Bob’s two overtly Christian albums Gotta Serve Somebody and Saved that caused him to be born again. Our dialogue hasn’t really yet got off the ground.

    But the Thin White Duke?-Station to Station is my favorite but I played Lodger a ton when I was a kid. How great were the Seu Jorge covers in Life Aquatic? And when Queen Bitch comes on during the end titles…well, it’s almost enough to make you forgive him those duets with either Mick or Bing. I will own up to being more of a Iggy or Lou guy than a Bowie guy but put the three of them together (I’ve seen at least one such great photograph) and throw in Brian Eno and I’m sold.

    Steph-I feel your pain but who would escape our Robespierre-like wrath if we hold artists accountable for videos and/or photo shoots from the eighties?

    I’ve heard Scott’s impassioned defense of Bat Out of Hell before and he’s convinced me-just crank up Total Eclipse of the Heart-Old School wedding singer version or not-for another glimpse into Mr. Steinman’s talents.

    But what’s with the Mick bashing? OK, so he’s not the coolest guy in the band, and if we’re talking about Keith then I concur but he was an absolute junkie throughout many of the creative years in question and not all that fun himself, but when did that become the question?

    I remember a sad, but perhaps relevant considering the discussion of artistic highs and lows, quote from Slash about the then declining fortunes of the Stones to the effect that if they had all died in a plane crash right after releasing Some Girls we would not question that they were the greatest band of all time. Maybe, maybe not but it would have saved us from the long slow decline and that “poufy green silk blouse” that the fashion (perchance that it were the dream) police found so wanting.

    I too like Shattered a lot. I remember when they played it on Saturday Night Live. Bowie was great (in a dress) on SNL too.

    And I like opera so get ready for me to bring over some tunes to Scott’s shindig tonight!

    Last thought on wanting to interview people with questions that really matter-being a guy who pulls for the underdog I worry about being on the wrong end of such a question. For example, I was asked by a student the other day what I thought of The Game. I came up with an honest response and was summarily dismissed.

  38. Tim Wager says:

    Scotty, you shouldn’t rely too heavily on irony to justify your liking a certain artist or work. Irony is part of it, I’m sure, but I *know* that you _love_ “Bat Out of Hell” ’cause that fucker rocks *and* brings a tear to your eye. You don’t have to rely on irony. Of course, irony can help deepen and nuance one’s appreciation, but let it rip, brotha! You love that shit! Say it loud and proud.

  39. Scott Godfrey says:

    Tim, yes, you know that I love the Loaf. My point is that the irony plays huge in “Bat,” and I don’t think that rock and irony need to be so neatly cleaved. For example, I love Alice Cooper, but if for one second I thought he was even slightly serious I’d be horrified. (Okay, maybe he’s slightly serious).

    The serious factor is why I keep a safe distance from bands like Tool, Pearl Jam, and Rage Against the Machine…lighten up guys. Anyone who can’t crack a smile on stage doesn’t really get what R ‘n’ R is about, good times.

    Ruben, I too am more of a Lou and Iggy guy. For my money, Funhouse is, perhaps, the best hard-rock record of all time.

  40. Lane says:

    O.K. O.K. I give!

    Charlie IS the coolest Stone! Now PLEASE, EVERYONE . . .

    “Say Goodnight Gracie!”

  41. Lane — you need to factor in the time difference. Everyone won’t go to bed when you do. They’re just revving up for west coast record club #2. (am i right? or are you at #3?)

    Re: this — Station to Station is my favorite but I played Lodger a ton when I was a kid. How great were the Seu Jorge covers in Life Aquatic? And when Queen Bitch comes on during the end titles…well, it’s almost enough to make you forgive him those duets with either Mick or Bing.

    wow, ruben. i’ve never felt this connected before. you’ve got all my favorites lined up there. well, a good number of them anyway. we’re going to have to move on to roxy music soon.

  42. btw, dave and i recapped this thread for jason while enjoying a lovely evening on karen’s terrace. his verdict: “you don’t like bowie? i don’t want to talk to you. end of story. period.”

    nuff said.

  43. pandora, another wonderful post. i can so see the record store and hear them playing new and exciting stuff like the kinks and george clinton and the funkadelics. i can see you sitting there just as you described. thanks for reminding me not to just listen, but hear people


  44. We had record club out in New Jersey tonight, “family” style, since those with kids were free to bring them and the rules were relaxed to allow parents room to tend to kids’ needs. The second song played was “Kooks,” chosen because it was thematically appropriate. I thought of you all.

  45. Lane says:

    Our “family” movie has become “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” Adriana has purchased us a copy after renting it several times. And now we have disc two! With all the Bowie covers, great!

    It occured to me, while watching all the filmed covers, under the influence of delicious blood orange margaritas, the difference between an artist and a stylist.

    The guy that does the covers is a stylist. Always nice and enjoyable, tasteful even, successful.

    Bowie, the artist, is defined by his FAILURE! Sometimes great, other times awful.

    But always courageous.