Producer Tony Visconti Talks David Bowie and Blackstar
1-6-16 Producer Tony Visconti Talks David Bowie and Blackstar
UPDATED 1-9 with video from last night’s Holy Holy show…
I was excited for the opportunity to speak to Tony Visconti who has amassed an absolutely stunning body of work as a producer. Not only the most essential Bowie albums but the best work of T-Rex and rewarding collaborations with everyone from T-Rex to John Hiatt to Angelique Kidjo to Alejandro Escovedo. As I would expect from a guy from Brooklyn, Tony was a straight shooter of a conversationalist with not a hint of pretension. We recorded the interview just two days ago in The Log Cabin – a beautiful studio whose atmosphere is captured in its name. The studio wizard who was manning the cabin had crossed paths with Visconti before and spoke of him as something of a mentor. He was even more delighted than me to have a man of Visconti’s discography in the house.
Above is the 2 minute piece airing on NY1 today in which Visconti speaks about the new Bowie album Blackstar. Like the last one, The Next Day, it was done secretly at another lovely studio The Magic Shop in Soho. He revealed that he and Bowie share a long held affinity for jazz and they finally incorporated that form in a big way by getting another New Yorker (since 91) Donny McCaslin and his quartet involved. The first Bowie song McCaslin’s sax made it onto was Sue (or in a season of crime) which led off the nifty 2014 collection Nothing Has Changed. That song was reworked for Blackstar and McCaslin – along with his mates Jason Lindner on keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on bass and Mark Guiliana on drums- were the core band. Linder, by the way, is doing a Monday night residency at Nublu in the East Village this month. Guiliana will lead his own quartet at Subculture (also in the village) next Friday the 15th. Lefebvre will be at The Apollo playing a gig with his main group the Tedeschi Trucks Band on the 26th and the full Donny McCaslin quartet minus Lefebvre and plus Nate Wood on bass will be at the Village Vanguard doing a 6 night run that starts on the 19th of this month.
Visconti also explained what Holy Holy is all about. That’s the band he is in who are on tour and who played last night at the Highline Ballroom. As we had such a good chat, I’m offering some bonus material as well: Tony on his favorite 3 Bowie albums. Oh, and this is a good article on Bowie btw that explains what Tony did that he referenced while speaking about Heroes.