Bowie and me

A long­time Bowie col­lab­o­ra­tor, Tony Vis­conti is re­vis­it­ing the star’s early work with Holy Holy. Dun­can Sea­man re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - MU­SIC -

Over the course of the last 50 years Tony Vis­conti has played an in­te­gral role in sev­eral of the most im­por­tant records in the his­tory of Bri­tish rock and pop.

But even for the 72-year-old

New Yorker, the two awards he re­cently re­ceived from the Mu­sic Pro­duc­ers Guild – for Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion to UK Mu­sic and for his work on David Bowie’s fi­nal al­bum Black­star – marked some­thing spe­cial.

“The Black­star award was of course a crown­ing glory be­cause it’s the last thing I did with David Bowie over a pe­riod of 47 years and it hap­pens to be, in my opin­ion, just about the best al­bum we’ve done to­gether,” he says. “That and Scary Mon­sters and maybe ‘He­roes’, so it’s right up there.

“To be cel­e­brated by my Bri­tish peers that’s a great hon­our be­cause this is the coun­try where I learned how to do ev­ery­thing.”

A year on from Bowie’s death, lis­ten­ing to Black­star is for many an emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence. None more so, it seems, than for the man who was at his side for more than four decades. Vis­conti ex­plains: “I lis­ten to it all the time – and I lis­ten to other records be­cause I’m in­volved in re-re­leas­ing the cat­a­logue, not all of it but some of the bits I worked on – and it al­ways chokes me up and it’s some­thing I just have to work through. I can’t dis­em­body his voice from the per­son I knew and loved, so yes, I’m still at quite an emo­tional stage.”

When Bowie’s death from liver can­cer was an­nounced to a shocked world, on Jan­uary 10, 2016, Vis­conti was tour­ing as bass player with Holy Holy, the band he founded with for­mer Spi­der From Mars ‘Woody’ Wood­mansey to per­form songs from the early part of Bowie’s canon. He read­ily ad­mits that be­ing around “ten great friends” helped him to cope with the tragic news.

“They were all stunned and shocked, es­pe­cially Woody who was a friend of David’s, but it did help. By the time the tour was over I didn’t re­alise how much of a pro­tec­tion they were for me

We were fac­ing an au­di­ence and some of them were cry­ing dur­ing

the songs.

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