Earl Slick “Wasn’t a Bowie Fan” When He Had a Life-Changing Concert


Longtime David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick admitted he was not a fan of the British icon when he joined his band in 1974.

Their intermittent collaboration will last until 2013. But in a recent interview with Classic rock, the American artist – who is about to release a new instrumental album, Fist full of devils – said he only owned one Bowie LP before the “strange” life-changing audition.

“I thought it would be Bowie with a band and I would just go play a play,” Slick explained. “Which was not the case. I had to go to the RCA studios where they were in the final mixing phase Diamond dogs. David’s assistant led me to the main recording room. The control room was turned off and I couldn’t see anything other than the lights on the train. Then a voice came over the intercom – which I later understood to be (record producer) Tony Visconti – and said, “Put on your headphones. I’m going to play some things, just play the game. ‘ So I did, and that’s it. After about half an hour, Bowie walked into the room, said hello, and we chatted and played guitar for a little while.

He continued, “It’s funny, because I wasn’t a Bowie fan. I knew who he was; I had one of his albums, Aladdin Sané, which I bought for Mick Ronson’s guitar. ‘Jean Genie’ was right in that Chicago blues fashion… ‘Panic In Detroit’ was completely Bo Diddley, and that’s why I bought the record. But that was the only Bowie record I had, so I went pretty blind.

Slick recalled that the following years felt like a “mini-Beatlemania” as he found himself in the world of a major league musician. “And while I wasn’t doing anything that I hadn’t done before, suddenly it was on a whole new level,” he added.

He further noted the amount of cocaine used in the manufacture of Young Americans and Station to Station, highlighting this last LP for presenting “a lot of experimentation and nonsense that we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise”. “I’m not suggesting that you put mountains of cocaine to make a really good record,” the guitarist warned, “because it doesn’t normally work very well, but for this particular record, bearing in mind that we didn’t kill us – which was good – it did.

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