I’m not sure when I first heard David Bowie, but I became a fan when he put out the Scary Monsters album. Ironically, that was the last album of his I ever really cared much about. The stuff he put out after that wasn’t bad — well, other than “Modern Love,” yuck! It just didn’t have much meaning for me. Instead, I dug back into his past from there.
Bowie wasn’t punk, but he was important to the punks. He was one of a handful of pre-punk artists who you could still get away with admitting you liked when the punk rock rejection of everything that had come before was in full swing. After all, he’d known that Iggy was cool before anyone else.
Bowie wasn’t gay. You don’t marry Iman if you’re gay. But he made it OK to be gay. He took a lot of shit for wearing dresses in public and dropping hints that he might be gay at a time when such a stance could get you killed. That was brave and it was important.
Just a few days before we lost David Bowie, we also lost Lemmy Kilminster of Motorhead. I’m grateful to have gotten to see Motorhead once in concert, a show in Austin a couple/few years ago.
Like Bowie, Motorhead was one of the few pre-punk bands you could still admit to liking when the punks hated everything that wasn’t punk. An Akron/Cleveland hardcore band called Agitated used to play Ace of Spades. I subbed as their bass player when the band reunited in 2005 and their original bassist refused to perform.
Lemmy and Bowie were alike in that they didn’t fear the future. So many others of their generation either were scared by punk or made really pathetic attempts at aping whatever they thought punk was (remember Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”? The Chipmunks and the Pink Panther understood punk better.) As I got older that was important to me as a lesson that you didn’t need to get completely out of touch as fashions changed and new generations came of age.
For a long time Lemmy hung out at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Boulevard playing video games. I’ve never been to the Rainbow and always figured one day I’d stop in and see if Lemmy was there. I probably wouldn’t have said anything to him. It’d have just been cool to see him there. I never did that and I regret it now.
I’ll just leave it at that. There are better eulogies than these for both men. I just felt like writing a few of my own memories. Thanks for listening.
Maybe we’ll sing “Space Oddity” together after zazen tonight at 8pm in Silver Lake (see info below).
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Our Saturday morning zazen in Culver City now starts at 10:00 am!
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Check out my podcast with Pirooz Kaleyah, ONCE AGAIN ZEN!
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January 17, 2016 11:00am Los Angeles Against the Stream 4300 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
February 3, 2016 Ventura, California Ventura College
March 5, 2016 Austin, Texas Austin Zen Center
April 22, 2016 New York, New York Interdependence Project
April 23, 2016 Long Island, New York Molloy College “Spring Awakening 2016”
October 23-28, 2016 Benediktushof Meditation Centrum (near Würzburg, Germany) 5-Day Retreat
Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Beginners only!
Every Saturday at 10:00 am (NEW TIME!) there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Beginners only!
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