We can be HE­ROES

Guess who is lin­ing up to cel­e­brate David Bowie?

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Han­naford

There’s noth­ing quite like div­ing into the deep stuff. Just a few min­utes af­ter meet­ing with IOTA, we’re on the sub­ject of life af­ter death. The singer and song­writer is set to ap­pear — along­side Tim Rogers, Steve Kil­bey, Deb­o­rah Con­way, Adalita and Jack Lad­der — with the Syd­ney Sym­phony Or­ches­tra as part of a trib­ute to David Bowie, called Noth­ing Has Changed, at the Opera House in May. Best Week­end meets IOTA on the day of Prince’s death, so nat­u­rally, re­cently de­parted rock stars are on the mind.

But rather than get­ting caught up in a sense of mourn­ing, IOTA is philo­soph­i­cal about that fi­nal jour­ney, and what might await us on the other side.

“We’ve all got to go — I wasn’t sur­prised when Bowie died,” he says. “I don’t re­ally feel sad; I kind of think it’s cool. I sort of look for­ward to it my­self, in a way, just be­cause it’s a whole new ad­ven­ture.

“It’s some­thingg that we so don’t know any­thing about, but we can ex­plore with our minds now. I’ve al­ways won­dered what that mo­ment’s like, to go. ‘This is it, I’m def­i­nitely go­ing’. Whether you be­lieve there’s go­ing to be more, or whether you think that it’s just over. I can imag­ine that there’s more, be­cause the uni­verse is in­fi­nite.”

Af­ter Bowie passed away, IOTA says he was asked to per­form in sev­eral trib­ute shows to the Thin White Duke, but it was only when the SSO asked that he ac­qui­esced.

“I love him. I saw Bowie when I grew up, on the TV — the ’80s were prob­a­bly when I first got into him with Let’s Dance and China Girl, when he did the Aus­tralian film clips. That was him to me, that was how I re­mem­bered learn­ing about him. “The Ziggy Star­dust al­bum was when I first heard an en­tire al­bum of his and was re­ally struck by the songs and by his voice. The Hea­then al­bum and Re­al­ity — I re­ally loved those two al­bums. I don’t mean to do it, but I don’t get into things that ev­ery­one’s into; I get into it 10 years later. “The big at­trac­tion was the SSO — to do it with an or­ches­tra is an ex­pe­ri­ence that I haven’t had. If you’re go­ing to do one, it’s the one to do,” he says, adding that he feels the con­certs will pro­vide a re­spect­ful re­flec­tion on Bowie’s body of work with­out be­ing mawk­ish.

“It’s a fine line — it’s ei­ther got to be re­ally grand or in some­one’s lounge room singing a cou­ple of songs.”

While IOTA ad­mits to a few nerves at tak­ing on Bowie’s much-loved back cat­a­logue, per­form­ing on­stage is when he’s most com­fort­able in his own skin.

“It’s like the only time I re­ally know what’s go­ing on. I wish I could go con­fi­dently through life like that — just com­pletely let­ting go and let­ting it all hap­pen and know­ing that ev­ery­thing is go­ing to be fine. It’s quite lovely.

“But the first time we do this Bowie thing, I’ll be hav­ing a whole other out-of-body ex­pe­ri­ence. I feel a bit ner­vous about the lyrics, and just mak­ing sure I get them right. I feel like you have to be­cause this is a big show — he’s dead, we’re hon­our­ing him and his art. As an artist I think that it’s im­por­tant to do that — I’m ter­ri­ble at lyrics, even my own. I’m study­ing hard, I’m not go­ing to fuck it up.”

Apart from pay­ing his re­spects to Bowie’s tal­ent, IOTA is hop­ing the night turns into a cel­e­bra­tion of the artist’s work — much in the way he danced on the streets of New­town af­ter Michael Jackson’s pass­ing.

“When he died, I was go­ing some­where with my boyfriend into the city and they’d just set up speak­ers and were play­ing Michael Jackson. Peo­ple were just walk­ing past and started to dance, and I just went, ‘We have to go’, and can­celled what we were do­ing. We bought a bot­tle of wine and danced to Michael Jackson for a cou­ple of hours. They put a screen up (show­ing) how to do the moves to Thriller, so there were all these drunk peo­ple try­ing to do all these moves — it was re­ally great.”

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