This Fantastic Voyage: Hikaru Davis and Tony Visconti on Drummer Dennis Davis

There’s a new post from Hikaru Davis on his dad, dummer Dennis Davis’s, contribution to Bowie’s music from the later 1970s to Scary Monsters (& Super Creeps).

Edited by Nacho Productions, some of the highlights include the surprisingly firm introductory riff that Davis provides for Lodger’s opening number, “Fantastic Voyage.” The song itself  seems disaffected, ranging from firm to the desperate: “We’ll get by…I suppose,” but its opening bars by Davis are memorable and definite.

There’s a fascinating breakdown of the parts Dennis Davis and bassist George Murray supplied for the song “Ashes to Ashes” and a clip from Saturday Night Live to suggest what a Bowie tour in 1979-1980 featuring the DAM trio (Davis-Alomar-Murray) might have sounded like. This was a period when Bowie’s live performances were few. Lodger and Scary Monsters were not accompanied by tours.

There’s some sadness to the HD Project. Why when Bowie had such regard for his rhythm section, did he not keep them all on? They weren’t the only ones. Eno was part of this era; he’d be gone until 1995’s Outside. Twenty-two years passed before Visconti reappeared on 2002’s Heathen.

Bowie moved on. He had a need for impermanence, chaos even. In Robert MacFarlans’s Underland, he writes of “solastalgia” or when “the home becomes unhomely around its inhabitants” (317). He’s talking about something else entirely, climate change, but if there were a psychological equivalent, that is what seemed to impel Bowie: stability became stifling.

Visconti shows Hikaru a clip from the Roseland Bowienet concert in which Davis joins his band for that period to jam on a few songs. They just pick up like they have never missed a beat.

Recordings are lovely things. They provide endurance when performance alone does not. A friend used to say that in theater, nothing was sadder than when the last trunk was packed and prop stashed at the end of a play’s run. Then you knew that magic would never be again.

Tracing My Dad • Vol. 10 • Tony Visconti discusses Dennis Davis and David Bowie • Part 4 [ 79/80 ]

Special thanks to Hikaru Davis and Nacho.


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