David Bowie Diaries 1973-1974-1975 1974
MY WORLD by David Bowie


Diamond Dogs Tour, NY 1974 David Bowie Diaries 1974 USA 1974

5th October 1974

   I thought this week I'd go into more detail about my brief holiday at Cherry Vanilla's summer house on Fire Island, off Long Island, New York.

   There I was delightfully treated to the most expansive vista of sea and sky ... not easily found in too many places on our crowded little planet at this time.

   There is no electricity on the island, and one of the most highly featured entertainments is earphone radio listening.

   Cherry's got a whole bunch of 'em, and they have the most incredibly clear stereo sound. They also allow you total mobility since there are no electrical wires - just a tiny transistor battery.

   The radio stations in New York are fantastic. As I turned the dial on the radio, I passed six rock stations (the kind that play album tracks - not just top forty stuff), two Latin-American stations, one that played exclusively rhythm and blues, a film music station and a few easy-listening pop and talk show stations.

   I finally landed on one which was broadcasting an incredible live concert. It was a stereo broadcast of Schubert's Ninth Symphony.

   At the same time there was a storm out over the sea - and the sight of it and the full moon, combined with such incredibly beautiful music was just breath-taking.

   At one point I got out of my comfortable chair and ran to the edge of the sea where I just danced like crazy in the unbelievable privacy and vastness of this space.

   Well, at about 2 a.m. I retired to my upstairs room of the house where the windows face the sea. I removed the earphones and just lay there for a while and let the breezes and the moonlight wash over me, while the rhythm of the waves rocked me into a deep and refreshing sleep.

   That next morning I awoke extremely early (a most unusual occurrence for a night bird like me) to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the sweet sea air.

   Locked into a constant big city race for survival the way so many of us are, it's strange how quickly one forgets the luxury of breathing clean, fresh air.

   By the end of breakfast, it had become so hot that I had to retire to the shade. Cherry and her other guests, protected by their deep summer suntans, oiled their bodies and basked in the rays.

   But now that the clouds have rolled in and I've come to the end of my column, I'm going to set out on a four mile walk down the beach to visit a musician friend.

12th October 1974

   GOOD NEWS! I've just finished what I think has to be one of my best albums yet! I still can't talk about it too much - it's bad luck, you know. But everyone who's heard the first tracks thinks it's going to be fantastic!

   It's not easy recording an album - it takes months really. I've been working on this one since the end of my last tour. First, I had to choose the tracks I wanted on the album. Just finding the right songs to make up an entire album takes a lot of thought and that's only the beginning.

   Then I went to all the musicians who would be working on the album to discuss all the arrangements with them. Did you know that each part, the guitar, the bass, the piano, percussion and brass has to be written before you even step into the studio? Well, it's true, and when that's completed you can finally step into the studio for the recording to be done. That's the most complicated process, and it's done piece by piece. One day we'll do just the musicians' part and get that perfect, and then the next day the tape will be played back for me so that I can add the vocal parts to the original tape. This is done a few times and when it's finally completed the brass is added and other various sound effects.

   After the record is actually recorded, it's up to the engineer, the producer, and, in this case, me. We all have to see that it's mixed perfectly, that the music sounds good with the vocals and so on. Does all this make sense? It really is quite a satisfying experience when the final product is completed.

   When we finished this album, the crew gave me a surprise party at the studio. All the Mainman staff attended, plus a few close friends.

   We all wound up toasting each other with champagne, and complimenting each other on what a good job we'd done. Thank goodness that studio was soundproofed! The din we all made would have disturbed the whole neighbourhood otherwise. I must say that it's great fun recording an album - but it's even more fun finishing it. I haven't got all my friends together under one roof for a long time and I really enjoyed it!

   What's in the future? Well, a new tour, and new stories to tell, I hope. As I think I've already told you, I hope that before the end of the year is here, I'll be doing a concert in England so all my friends back home can see me. Anyway I'll keep you posted...

19th October 1974

   I'm now writing this epistle from gloriously sunny California. Even though it's turning into autumn in New York, it's still boiling hot out here and for most people it's perfect beach weather. I say for most people because I personally have never been much of a sun worshipper, as my all-year-round white skin proves.

   California is a very funny place, especially Hollywood. It seems that just about everyone out here came to this place wanting to be a movie star and, of course, not everyone makes it, but they all keep trying. Also, everyone seems to be on an enormous health kick. They're forever working out in gyms to keep their bodies in shape and eat nothing but natural foods like whole grain breads, carrot juice, cucumber shakes and so on. And almost no one out here eats meat.

   I'm surrounded by vegetarians who, if given half a chance, try to convince me I'm practically a cannibal for my carnivorous ways. I'm starting to feel guilty every time I order a steak.

   Another curious thing about being out here is that nobody walks anywhere. Everyone drives. If you don't have a car, you're absolutely lost. There are no subways, or buses, so your only choice is to get a taxi or buy a car! But people carry it to the extreme out here. They get in their cars to go to the corner store. It really takes some getting used to!

   Anyway, the most exciting thing I've been doing out here is performing, of course. The concerts have been just fabulous, if I do say so myself! The audiences have really loved the shows and we've received telly coverage on all of them. My friend Geoffrey, is in the show with me, you know. He's one of the back-up dancers and he keeps reminding me that all that late night dancing at the 82 Club in New York has really paid off.

   Angie has flown out here to catch the shows and to give me news of London and New York. She's just finished some more modelling assignments in London and raced back to New York to puts Zows in his second year of nursery school. From what I hear Zows is turning into a marvellous student and is quickly becoming 'teacher's pet'.

   I must go now and check the equipment for tonight's concert to make certain everything goes perfectly.

26th October 1974

   I've just received the most exciting news - and I really must share it with you. My album 'Diamond Dogs' has just been certified gold in America! That means that in the States alone I've sold over a million copies - much cause for celebration! And speaking about celebrating - I've been doing quite a bit of that!

   My designer, Freddie, has been over here getting together a whole new wardrobe for me. When he's not hard at work at the drawing board, he's busy being shown around all the New York hotspots.

   The other night we went to Madison Square Garden to see a really wild Latin music festival.

   I knew Latin music was popular in New York, but I had no idea just how popular! What started out calmly enough, 20,000 people sitting listening to sambas and swaying with the music, soon turned into the most incredible free-for-all. As the music got faster and hotter the audience got wilder and wilder, and by midshow there wasn't one person left in his seat. Everyone, just everyone, that includes Freddie and me, was in the aisles dancing to that Latin beat. If you think people go a bit mad at rock concerts, you wouldn't believe your eyes or ears at something like this!

   Freddie thought it was absolutely fantastic and is now a genuine Latin music fanatic, too! For someone who's usually so super-cool, this is rather a dramatic change. Freddie also couldn't keep his eyes off the costumes that the musicians and singer were wearing. Talk about glitter! By the end of the night we were just about blinded by the sequined jackets the men were wearing. Now I know where the glitter look really started!

   I've also acquired a taste for the cultural side of life. I've been to the ballet. Admittedly, I've never been an active ballet fan, but I must say I was really quite impressed with this one. It was Nureyev dancing in 'Sleeping Beauty'.

   Of course you all know the fairy tale about the princess who falls asleep for a hundred years and can only be awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince - well, I must say, I was carried away by the romance of it all. I've also never seen anything as beautifully and gracefully performed. And to think that those dancers train for years and actually dedicated their lives to adding beauty to the world. It is really quite a stirring experience. See what a little culture can do to a person?

   Well, enough of this, I really must be going now, so until next time -

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Created: July 1997 © Paul Kinder Last Updated: 18/4/18