You Belong In Rock n’ Roll

You Belong In Rock n’ Roll.
You Belong In Rock n’ Roll (single mix, video).
You Belong In Rock n’ Roll (Paramount City, 1991).
You Belong In Rock n’ Roll (Wogan, 1991).
You Belong In Rock n’ Roll (Top of the Pops, 1991).
You Belong In Rock n’ Roll (Sacrée Soirée, 1991).
You Belong In Rock n’ Roll (Eleva2ren, 1991).
You Belong In Rock n’ Roll (live, Oy Vey Baby, 1991).

Are there any new ideas left to be discovered in rock and roll?

Bowie: In rock and roll, no. But in what you can give rock and roll, yes. I think the whole idea of talking about the feelings that you have between your mid-30s and mid-40s…there are endless experiences there. The whole weight of having gone through the apocalyptic vision of the Seventies, the greed and vanity of the Eighties: these are things that none of the younger bands knew about or experienced. So they’re just a result of it. With a band like Guns ‘n’ Roses, lyrically there’s a kind of abandon there. But abandon from what?

Alan di Perna, “Ballad of the Tin Men,” Creem, 1991.

The lead-off single of Tin Machine II, “You Belong in Rock n’ Roll” was Bowie’s most overt attempt at pop since “Never Let Me Down,” and it tanked, charting only (and poorly) in the UK, ignored by the rest of the world. Possibly inspired by U2’s “With or Without You,” it shared with the latter a bass-driven, deep-crooned verse, a sudden dynamic shift in the chorus (triggered by the title phrase) and a simple, repeating chord progression—“Rock n’ Roll” just uses the first two chords, C and G, of “With or Without You”‘s cycling C-G-Am-F. But compared to U2’s brooding religious erotica, “Rock n’ Roll” is camp trash, with Reeves Gabrels playing his guitar solos with a vibrator.*

The title suggested some kind of reckoning with the past: after the bridge-burning of Tin Machine, it seemed to be Bowie trying to align himself for a fresh decade. An old friend once said that it was never a good sign when an aging band wrote a song with “rock and roll” in the title (he was thinking of Kiss, who had just put out “God Gave Rock and Roll to You”), as it usually was a cue for gross nostalgia or base pandering. Thankfully that’s not the case here—Bowie’s “Rock n’ Roll” is too slight, too moody, too crass, although he is chasing after ghosts in it.

The guiding spirit is Marc Bolan in his prime, comparing girls to cars and mountain kings: I love the velvet hat–you know the one that caused a revolution…you got the blues in your shoes and your stockings…I’ll call you Jaguar if I may be so bold. Bowie’s come-ons in “Rock n’ Roll” are shopworn and banal by comparison: the girl (or rock itself) reminds him of “cheap streets,” she says “cheap things,” she’s got a “bad look.” It’s third-rate seduction. Bolan had known he was the prize—the come-ons were just for show, he was just peacocking for his own delight, as he’d already closed the deal. Bowie in “Rock n’ Roll” has to really work the sale, and seems to vaguely despise himself for it.

The big hook, triggered to the song’s one chord change, is “you belong in rock n’ roll…well, so do I,” a weakly Bolanesque line. Bowie’s phrasing of the last words, a slight aspiring push upward, suggests that he knows it’s a dubious claim. But what was “rock n’ roll” here? In 1990 it meant Guns ‘n’ Roses and Warrant—it was no place for some crackpot dandy like Bolan, let alone Bowie entering his high Dorian Gray period. Bowie had never been reverent about rock music; he’d always questioned whatever transcendence it offered. In his Ziggy Stardust days, he referred to rock as an aging tart. Twenty years on, he felt the same, although now he was in a serious hard “rock n’ roll” band whose players sometimes acted as if they were the music’s last hope—it’s tempting to call “Rock n’ Roll” Bowie’s subconscious rejection of Tin Machine. In the video for “Rock n’ Roll,” Bowie preened into the mirror, wriggling out of his garish lime-green jacket while he sang “so do I”; on stage, he sometimes mimed slapping on foundation.

But the track’s not mere parody, either. As with Bolan’s influence, you can hear Bowie trying to recall an old language, trying to ground himself again in a music that had once worked for him. There’s a trace of Buddy Holly in how Bowie toys with his phrases, hollowing out vowels, stretching a small word to fill the space of three: luh-uh-huh-hove, say-uh-hay-hay. (On the Paradise City performance, Bowie sings the second verse in a quasi-American accent). So it’s fitting that it ends back at the mirror. When Bowie builds up to the climax, he finally imitates “Bowie,” the imperious, archangel-voiced Bowie of pop memory: on fire! on FIRE! on FIRE! on FIIIHAH!

Though its rhythm track—a rumbling Tony Sales bassline, flourishes of acoustic guitar, a tight Hunt Sales playing a swinging kick drum pattern—was nailed down in the Sydney sessions, “Rock n’ Roll” was one of the tracks that Gabrels wouldn’t leave alone. He cut guitar overdub after overdub while Bowie was on his world tour in 1990. By the time Tin Machine II was mixed in spring 1991, “Rock n’ Roll” had ballooned to a 56-track recording, the majority of which was taken up with Gabrels’ bleats, buzzes and whines.

Gabrels had been obsessed with Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine, and as “Rock n’ Roll” was “basically a bass song, I wanted to lay in some industrial stuff against it,” he said. Gabrels started by vibrating an electric razor against his guitar strings but found he wanted something with variable speeds, so that he could better tune it. So Gabrels and his guitar tech went out to a few Sydney sex shops and came back with a selection of vibrators. Gabrels became a fan—“You can use [a vibrator] as a sound source and also as a string driver by laying it against the bridge,” he said—as did Bowie, who said he expected to soon go into a music store and find rows of vibrators with effects pedals and slides: an inspired vision of commerce that sadly never came to be.

That said, Gabrels’ main solo, the eight-bar fill between refrain and verse, is Gabrels at his most restrained, offering just a series of steadily-rising chords, while his various vibrator-guitar dubs work as mood colors in the mix rather than overwhelming the track. The final mix of “Rock n’ Roll” sounded good—Tony Sales’ backing vocals giving tension to Bowie’s murmurings, the handclaps, the low-mixed saxophone—but in the fall of 1991, no one wanted to hear it. Perhaps it was a minor cultural exhaustion with Bowie: it was the first single after the Sound + Vision tour/retrospective. The Bowie of the past was far too strong a presence, the Bowie of the present seemed compromised and empty. “Rock n’ Roll” was a pretender, soon sent packing.

Recorded ca. September-October 1989, Studios 301, Sydney, with overdubs in 1990 and March 1991. Released as a single in August 1991 (LONCD 305, c/w “Amlapura (Indonesian version), #33 UK). There was also a limited edition single in a metal box. To produce it, according to Pegg, the label had to purchase used tins from the US Navy. The band played or lip-synched “Rock n’ Roll” on Denmark’s Eleva2ren, France’s Sacree Soiree and the UK’s Wogan, TOTP and Paramount City, generating weak sales and minor controversy because of Gabrels’ vibrators. (Weirdly, the Machine apparently didn’t play “Rock n’ Roll” in their big US TV promotion, ABC In Concert.) Played throughout the 1991-92 tour, with a version from Chicago, 7 December 1991, used as the closing track on Oy Vey Baby.

* Gabrels told Musician that his touring vibrators were “a 4″ Ladyfinger and an 8″ variable speed, with a Panasonic electric razor as backup.”

Top: Michel Piccoli and Emmanuelle Béart, La Belle Noiseuse (Rivette, 1991).

40 Responses to You Belong In Rock n’ Roll

  1. tin man says:

    Keith Richards has ridiculed fellow British rocker David Bowie for his love of attention-seeking. Richards, 64, admits he is “not a huge fan” of Bowie because he would rather pose than perform, reports

    He says, “It’s all pose. It’s all f**king posing. It’s nothing to do with music. He knows it too.”

    I think Bowie once & for all’s not a rocker… he recognized it many times in the past, but rock is not music and Richards is mistaken because Bowie is a fantastic singer and an amazing musician. He’s the one who is able to mix avant-garde with pop canons. He’s a generalist & his approach to music’s got a lot to do with painting (visual-based approach). Nothing to do with Keith who repeats his riffs as rock’n’roll gimmicks for rock’n’roll circus; nearly 50 years in the same arena.
    Nevertheless, i like Keith & the Stones but as an artist Bowie’s far more interesting!

    • Diamond Duke says:

      I think Bowie and Richards knew each other quite well from the old days and I believe their relationship was always at least cordial. I honestly don’t think Bowie would take any of those comments personally (however off-base). I think that back in the day, Richards even lent Bowie the use of his studio facilities once or twice for tour rehearsals or something, didn’t he…?

      • Roman says:

        I don’t know about that – Richards also speaks dismissively about Bowie in his autobiography. Jagger plays Richards a new song he was working on with Bowie called It’s Only Rock’N’Roll and Keef said to Mick something like, “You’re not only going to waste that, but you’re going to waste it on someone like BOWIE???? Take it back!”

      • tin man says:

        Yeah, you’re probably right ! I think you talk about Richards property in Jamaica, don’t you? As i said in my post i like the Stones & Keith is THE rock’n’roll rhythm guitar player.

    • PH says:

      I’m with you Tinman, Bowie is far more interesting than the Strolling Bones. Whether it’s posing or not, at least Bowie has some original ideas and is prepared to take risks. All that creaking old mummified corpse Keith Richards has ever done for the last 50 years is re-heat the same tired old Muddy Waters riff over and over.

      • Emannekat says:

        The Stones are great (one of the few in popular music to match Bowie in quantity of quality, like Serge Gainsbourg and the Beatles) but I wouldn’t expect Keith to like Bowie’s music. Keith likes what he grew up with and that wasn’t Bowie. There’s possibly also some jealousy to do with Mick.
        Unfortunately, Keith’s autobiography is very poor – a mixture of ‘bitches and blades’ posturing and re-writing history (especially with regard to Brian Jones) – and the Stones have been coasting for too long but he’s still one of the greatest songwriters in popular music.

    • KenHR says:

      Bowie’s far more interesting than the Stones, for sure (maybe that’s why the Brian Jones edition of the band is my favorite), but yeah, he’s not really a “pure” rock artist. And there’s nothing wrong with that; we already have the Stones and CCR and the like for “authentic,” dyed-in-the-wool rock.

      I agree with the German teens from Patti Smith’s “Heroes” review that he’s more avant-pop-via-cabaret-or-Broadway than anything. Even the (to use this blog’s great description) necromantic funk of “Station to Station” shows these roots; my wife described the chord flourishes after each line of the song’s second section (drink to the man who protects you and I, etc) as sounding like something from Jesus Christ Superstar…and it’s awesome.

      • Maj says:

        “avant-pop-via-cabaret-or-Broadway” is the best description of Bowie’s “way” I’ve heard so far. If he were just one of those…I’d probably pass by, but the combination is what makes his music (& the stuff around) so much fun and so interesting.

  2. Jeremy says:

    I agree with your last sentence tin man…

    “high Dorian Gray period” – now that’s a new one!

  3. david says:

    I always took his singing as an Elvis parody. Interesting to note the U2 connection too, as it also sounds like “Mysterious Ways” with its repeated “its alright” refrain.
    Great song anyway, and was even touted as a return to form in the UK, until it tanked. Probably little helped by Bowie’s awful garish attire, wearing shorts and one of Imans shirts in the video, and Reeves smearing peanut butter over the frett during the Totp performance. Still, nice to see nods in the vid to L’Age d’Or, Man who fell to Earth and Fire walk with me.

    Another forgotten gem, and another great write up in what must feel like a slog during this period.

  4. Maj says:

    You Belong in Rock’n’Roll is such a stale rock cliché title I’m not sure even Iggy would be able to work it into coming off cool. The song itself not bad, just not very remarkable. It reminds me of music featured in early 90’s TV shows I vaguely remember from my childhood. Mediocre through and through.

  5. Diamond Duke says:

    I must admit, this one took a while to grow on me. It seemed at first a bit too minimal for my liking, and there didn’t seem to be much intrigue on a melodic or harmonic level. But it’s got a wonderfully wicked and slinky groove to it, plus you’ve got those handclaps, Gabrels’ layerings of spooky sound, and it’s topped off by a great Bowie vocal. So I was eventually won over. I mean, it’ll never be confused with one of the all-time great Bowie classics, but it’s a cool little minor entry in the canon…

    BTW, between the studio version and certain live versions – such as the Oy Vey, Baby CD – there’s a certain discrepancy as to which key the song is in. I always assumed on the basis of the TM2 that it was a more-or-less straight-up E minor, but Tony Sales’ bass playing would seem to ground the live Oy Vey, Baby version in the relative G major. Then again, that could have something to do with Tony’s short-term memory being shot after his ’79 car crash, and it turned out Bowie and the others just simply liked it better in that key!

    Check out this hilarious interview:

    “I suppose that’s not a real guitar he had, is it?”
    “No, it’s my lunch, Terry!”

    • col1234 says:

      probably right about Tony S. Gabrels and DB allegedly had to constantly yell changes at the poor guy, as he couldn’t remember how songs went on stage.

      • Paul Kelly says:

        It’s a repeated E bass on a G major chord on the studio version.

        I have a lot of time for this song as it was the first contemporary Bowie release I remember (not counting ‘Fame ’90’) and have fond memories of seeing it performed on TV at the time, though couldn’t quite work out what David Bowie was doing in a band.

  6. col1234 says:

    I think the studio version’s in G major, w/the E bass as Paul said. It’s pretty much just on G until the move to C on the refrain–no other chords, right? i don’t hear ’em.

  7. Joe The Lion says:

    Exactly the same here, Paul. I think I tried harder with it for that reason. I haven’t heard it for years. I have the limited edition tin! It’s in my loft…

  8. Momus says:

    There’s something really interesting going on in the studio recording of this song. The E bass under the GM chord creates a smouldering tension and ambivalence during the verses, heightened by Gabrels’ spooky hinge-creaking noises. The move to C resolves both the E and the G, but in different ways: the E drops 3, the G leaps 5. But actually the E keeps paddling away through the C as well, adding the same kind of ironic distance to the chord that the inverted commas add to the idea of “Heroes”.

    And just as that all-important ironic punctuation often got lost in live versions of “Heroes”, the live version of “You Belong in Rock n’ Roll” completely jettisons the tonal ambivalence. The G is just a G, the C is just a C. The song emerges completely lobotomised, sincere rather than ironic, straigt-ahead rather than crooked, all its revulsion-shame-ambivalence about rock’s tacky heroism purged.

  9. Paul Kelly says:

    The E bass bass being greeted by the G major chord was the first thing to jump out at me as unusual, upon hearing the song for the first time in 21 years recently, as I remembered as a more straightforward, if somewhat understated Bowie ‘hit’ (plus I was wrong in thinking it was much of a ‘hit’, due to seeing it two or perhaps three times on TV) . ‘Oy Vey Baby’ remains the last Bowie album for me to investigate, so it’s interesting to hear they actually did opt for the more obvious root note live – perhaps it was the only way this song gelled in that setting.

  10. Momus says:

    The E bass makes the G major into an E minor 7th, effectively. Otherwise, the song is doing something a bit Springsteeny and epic, so this minorization puts it in an area of murky and melancholy epic. It makes belonging in rock and roll sound as sad as being a dummy in a wax museum.

    “You’d think it would bleedin’ melt, wouldn’t you? I never wanted to be a rock’n’roll star…” etc

  11. Momus says:

    Actually, weirdly enough I think PiL’s Rise (1986) may have been an influence on this. The drum sound is quite similar, plus in the middle of Rise there’s the exact same tension between an E bass and a G major chord.

    • Momus says:

      Chris O’Leary, discussing Baby It Can’t Fall on this blog: “[Bowie, Pop and David Richards] liked the drums on Springsteen’s Born In the USA and Prince’s mid-Eighties records, but they were especially taken by Public Image Ltd.’s Album (or Cassette, or Compact Disc, depending on its medium),* with Bill Laswell’s massive production on the record. John Lydon had sacked his touring band for studio guns like Steve Vai and legends like Tony Williams and Ginger Baker, whose drums Laswell mixed so loudly that they were like a sustained aerial bombardment. Album was, in a way, the culmination of Lydon’s goal with PiL: to make an anonymous, vicious corporate rock record, one that jeered at the people it made dance; it was a faceless board of directors issuing songs about torture, capitalism-as-narcotic, betrayal.”

  12. Mike F says:

    Compare “Jean Genie,” a successful Bowie bass groove song (including handclaps), to this one. “Jean Genie” is propulsive and maintains tension throughout. “You Belong In Rock n’ Roll” limps along and ultimately becomes boring. This song could have worked a lot better with a different band and a better arrangement.

    • David L says:

      Great point. The song truly limps along, goes nowhere.

      Halloween background music.

    • KenHR says:

      Aww, it’s not that bad. And “Jean Genie” is built on a repurposed Muddy Waters riff…sometimes it seems the artist can’t win.

  13. Momus says:

    Sorry, I’ll stop comment-strafing after this one!

    I just want to note that the video for this song refers explicitly to The Man Who Fell To Earth: Bowie makes to pull out his contacts, but can’t. This, in the film, marks the moment when Thomas Jerome Newton has finally “fallen to Earth”, and can no longer return to his home planet. No longer extra-terrestrial, he now “belongs”, and — considering what he’s left behind — it’s a corruption and a tragedy.

    It’s not hard to see Bowie mapping his own trajectory to Newton’s. After a lifetime of disavowals, he now belongs in rock and roll. It’s a disaster, but also (like the booze Newton has had a little too much of in the final scene) a consolation and an addiction.

    • Steve Mallarmy says:

      I’m enjoying your forensic analysis of this dud period, Momus. I look forward to hearing what you (and Chris) have to say about Toy, which I think is where this post-golden-period, insecure, backward-looking Bowie comes into his own and finally turns his anxieties and obsession with his own past into a great record. The fact that it centres on a period he’d been trying to erase during the golden years, and that was also was never released, somehow adds to its greatness

  14. William Ham says:

    I have little to add to this particular part of the project (apart from the usual: this blog is amazing, the writing inspired and illuminating, it’s led to some personal re-evaluation of songs, albums and even eras I had long ago written off, etc. It really is a remarkable achievement. I look forward to your comprehensive exegesis on “Chubby Little Loser”), but I feel compelled to say something anyway, just so I can claim that I was “having a conversation” with one of my (other) favorite songwriters. This was already one of my favorite corners of the Internet; getting Momus’ observations and insights on top of it makes it that much more brilliant.

    (Confidential to Mr. Currie: I played a few of your songs on the radio this past week, as part of a set of music roughly based around the subject of unorthodox sexuality, and I received several phone calls asking about them, and by extension, you. That might not seem to be particularly remarkable in and of itself, but that’s something that almost never happens – it’s a late-night, mid-week program on a smallish non-commercial station, so I rarely get calls of any description, except for one gentleman who rings in at least twice a month, slurringly requesting “Duke of Earl.” So it really says something that your stuff made that kind of impression, though I guess I can’t unequivocally claim I know WHAT kind of impression that was: there are at least a couple of ways you can interpret “What was THAT!?” But an impression was definitely made, and it goes on, judging by the quizzical looks I got the other day when I found myself singing “Bluestocking” out loud in public. There are more than a few people ’round these parts whose noses are the same hue as the titular legwear in that song, but they really don’t know how lucky they have it; on a different day, I could have been applying my a capella karaoke talents to “Coming in a Girl’s Mouth.” Anyway, longtime fan and admirer, nice to see you around here, end of fawning digression.)

    • Momus says:

      Thank you kindly, William! One of the things this blog has opened my eyes to — especially these passages that look at Bowie’s “failed” projects and lean years — is that success is relative, unstable, and can’t really be measured in numbers.

      If it’s measured by those little lightning strikes songs can make in souls, well, Bowie’s lightning bolt has struck targets in me more successfully than any other artist’s. He’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing. But it’s also weirdly reassuring to me to see him fail sometimes, or just fail to connect with the fickle and foolish mass public that was sometimes his. It’s almost a generosity in him, stepping aside from his genius occasionally just to give the rest of us a chance to catch up. Or even stepping aside from the need to be loved by any public at all.

  15. gnomemansland says:

    Putting aside what key the things is in or its place in Momus’s heart I always thought this track was rather fine. Yes its a bit Bolan and Elvis and Jim Morrison and…but that is the point. It is cheap and throwaway but in a way which makes you cherish it – it is what all TM should have been. Only shame is that the saxes aren’t louder.

  16. tin man says:

    “Before maligning Hunt Sales like many guys since many many years defining themselves as real genuine Bowie fans (sure of their solid knowledge of the “Generalist” & full of Their “bon goût”, think, yes think he was the drum force behind Iggy’s Lust For Life & the half part of the same Ig’s best rhythm section Osterberg used as sidemen… ever. Don’t forget this guy hit the toms 52 years ago when aged 6. As the son of Soupy Sales he had the opportunity of knowing Buddy Rich who said to him “don’t play the rhythm, be the rhythm !”, Shelly Manne, Art Blakey & even Gene Krupa (what a team, just huge stars!)…
    Tin Man adore the way he plays & admire the man a lot.
    He is born march 2nd 1954… i first saw the light of day the 3rd of march 1969 (OK!… année érotique!).
    Another thing about Hunt: his voice, great real R’n’B voice. You have to admit one evidence, if you don’t you’re not sincere: there’no real difference between the way Hunt sings & the kind of Samuel David Moore vocals, i mean the Sam of Sam & Dave.
    Hunt for sure is a great caucasian Stax/ Volt man, not a lad in vein ! Long live Hunt!
    beware the Sales Brothers, they’re just amazing & Tin Machine was one of the best Live band i’ve ever seen & heard!”

  17. tin man says:

    It was for me the last occasion to write about Hunt because of the end of Tin Machine era, see u later guys

  18. Keith fired a cheap shot at Bowie. Maybe his mom never told him, “If you don’t have something kind to say about someone, then don’t say anything”. Bowie is so damn wonderful; he wasn’t an artist to be pigeon holed. Morrissey said of David, “…his best music ended after the first few years”, or something to that effect. I hate to say it, but I have come to the same conclusion, but Morrissey didn’t say why. I feel the reason is simply because Mick Ronson wasn’t making music; creating magic with Bowie anymore. Bowie went on to do some very great things, but by the time Young Americans came along, I was turning backward to the “other” Bowie, the one that transformed my very young life. I love David Bowie, mostly the stuff with Ronson, but also a smattering of his later songs, too. “Sweet Thing”, “Blackout”, and “Word on a Wing” are among his “later” songs that I’m always going to want to hear. Yet, they’re 30 to almost 40 years old, for the most part. Keith is one of my favorite guitarists but… Hey Keith, you couldn’t touch what Ronson did at the end of “Moonage Daydream”, pal. Nor could Morrissey’s awesome voice ever reach beyond the moon, like David’s did. Buddy Holly still blows me away, and that’s an understatement. The older I get, the more I’m in awe of Buddy, and the less tolerant I’ve become of those gruesome, dated background sounds from The Picks and The Roses. Damn, why can’t they eliminate those people from the songs and make the music purely, all Buddy? Dum-dee-dum-dum-Oh Boy. Buddy was the first artist to overdub his own voice into a song. That was innovative! Can’t somebody PLEASE return the his music the favor? “It’s Too Late” is a song I “put up with”, among many others because Buddy was, and still is, unlike anybody else, ever. Sadly, I have forsaken a number of his songs because I feel like Norman Petty’s tinkering beat the beauty out of Buddy’s genius, and it gets me pissed. That’s the antithesis of what Buddy Holly should ever do. C’mon Sir Paul, instead of gathering all those nice folks ’round to cover Buddy’s songs; Give Buddy the finest tribute humanly possible. Remove the outdated racket and let the brilliant, seminal sound of Buddy and The Crickets give birth to ever more generations of artists like you, Sir Paul. Sorry, no I’m not sorry I went off on that tangent.

  19. If Reeves had gotten together with Warren Cuccurullo, just think how sales of the Rock Cock might have spiked!

  20. s.t. says:

    I chanced to hear Lacy J. Dalton’s old hit “Black Coffee” recently and was struck by how similar it is to “You Belong.” The main riff is admittedly more indebted to the Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” but it’s got that same steady beat, with almost identical guitar strums peppered throughout. Methinks Bowie was listening to the country station and thought, “Hmmm, this belongs in a rock n roll song.”

  21. "HALLO RON!!!" says:

    Which date did he perform the song on the Wogan Show? Yes, 1991, but WHEN in 1991?

    Sorry, I wrote it on the wrong song, but still. Fact is, I can’t get what he means with “Hallo Ron!”. Look at the small “interview” with Terry Wogan. You’ll see that Bowie at several instances waving his hand to the audience and shouting out “Hallo Ron!”. Who the heck is Ron?

    Also, It seems like he’s pissed that he has to mime the song and therefore comes out with a sluggish and grumpy attitude which in turn makes wogan himself pissed so.

    I would of been If I tried to ask a question and someone responded with turning around and screaming “HALLO RON!!!” 😀

  22. crayontocrayon says:

    On the subject of playing to a backing track, the TOTP performance is wonderful for Reeves Gabrels’ minor act of protest. At first I thought it was a banana that he smushed into his guitar strings but he has since confirmed it was a vanilla éclair.

    Also the last 20 seconds of the video where Bowie sucks on a disembodied marble foot has to go down as some of the weirdest Bowie imagery out there.

  23. Brian says:

    Oddly enough, I would describe it as “inoffensive”, which is the last thing I expected from this band.

    “Gabrels had been obsessed with Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine”

    Very interesting, makes sense considering the direction they went in for Outside. I wonder if Gabrels introduced NIN’s music to Bowie or if he already knew of them.

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