David Bowie's Tin Machine compadre, Reeves Gabrels, has been in touch with MOJO to share his thoughts and feelings on the death of his friend and collaborator.
“Whether it was the Tin Machine albums, Outside, Earthling, 'Hours...' or any of the other projects we worked on,” writes Gabrels, “my role never seemed clearly defined... It was co-writer, co-producer, confidant and of course, guitarist. Being art-school boys David and I settled into a conspiratorial friendship early. Throughout the following 13 years, the studio was our Buckminster Fuller sandbox, our safe place to create where time stopped and art was made. there was no careerism, or attention to a ‘marketplace’ but, instead, a desire to tell a story... leave a trail of good work.
"Now is the time to go deep. There is a life's work waiting there to be heard."
“During our time together, contrary to the conventional view of David as a calculated manipulator of image, we felt more kinship with various art movements (the beats, Fluxus, German expressionism, the constructivists) than we did competition with the music being made around us. It was only when the ‘work’ was completed that thought shifted to how to bring it to the marketplace... as any artist does in any medium.
“It is my deepest hope that David is remembered as a man and an artist and not turned into a once-upon-a-time symbol of controversy by the media, a saucy soundbite by the tabloids or a silkscreen on a t-shirt worn by baby boomers and hipsters alike trying to create the appearance of cool without ever looking below the surface.
“It would be wonderful if music fans took this opportunity to listen. Now is the time to go deep. There is a life's work waiting there to be heard."
And to underline Reeves' point, here's Bowie's extraordinary The Hearts Filthy Lesson, from the Outside album, featuring Gabrels, Mike Garson, Carlos Alomar, Gail Ann Dorsey and more on a cracking Letterman performance from 1995.
...And enjoy again this amazing acoustic version of the Earthling album’s Dead Man Walking, with Gabrels and Bowie in 1997.
PHOTO: Gie Knaeps / Alamy