David Bowie Wonderworld: Chat Transcriptions           BowieNet Live Chat with Mike Garson 13/6/03          BowieWonderworld Chat Room

BowieNet Live Chat with
Mike Garson - 13/6/03

Session Start: Friday June 13th 2:30 PM 2003 EST

LoveLow: Hi Mike, how are you today?

Mike Garson: Doing pretty good, thank you!

Unicorn: How was your first meeting with David?

Mike Garson: It was wild and bizarre, I didn't know who he was at that time, in 1972. I met Mick Ronson first, and then I saw this wild guy with red hair... The rest is history...

lydiaof rome: At what age did you start to play keybords Mike?

Mike Garson: I started at 7 - I never looked back.

lydiaof rome: Are you preparing an album on your own?

Mike Garson: Lydia, I'm working on a classical album of my own pieces right now.

RogInLA: You've been a Bowie sideman for a long time... what drives you to play with him?

Mike Garson: He's a phenomenal artist to accompany, as he's very "in the moment."

charly: Hi Mike. Aladdin Sane is my all time fave Bowie album. How would you sum up working on that album at the time in say, 10 words or so?

Mike Garson: The best project I've ever recorded on, in fact, yes.

RaMOANa: How is young Jeremy's piano lessons coming along? :)

Mike Garson: Jeremy claims he's "done with piano" and on to... spelling..

Kisch: Mike, thank you for the great music... any more solo work in plans? (Hi from Russia btw)

Mike Garson: After we complete the next Bowie Tour, I'll be working on my solo career in both jazz and classical.

peanut: Hi Mike! Thanks for coming today. Can you tell us anything about the new album and the new tour? I am so excited?

Mike Garson: Unfortunately - I'm mum.

Theodora: What has been your most embarassing moment on stage?

Mike Garson: Playing the introduction to 'China Girl' in the wrong key. Luckily the band was able to adjust, and it went off well. we were on live TV in Paris.

whenimfive: What was the level of sanity during the Aladdin Sane tour???

Mike Garson: In terms of the creation of the music - pretty high. In terms of the lifestyle at the time - pretty low.

ant: Ho Mike, how's your relation with the university of Utrecht in Holland?

Mike Garson: It's GREAT! I usually get over there about once a year to lecture and perform.

nemesis: Mego tells me to ask you what you're wearing? (I'll cash in if you say "nothing")

Mike Garson: I'm wearing a T-shirt with some of my own artwork on it, and some dungarees.

Bianca: I love your artwork on your site, Mike. Which computer programmes did you use for this?

Mike Garson: Mainly, I use Photoshop, along with Painter Classic, and Studio Artist.

Bianca: How is to work with David these days in studio compared to the 70s?

Mike Garson: Interestingly enough, the creative process is virtually the same. Wonderful then, wonderful now.

charly: What is your favourite Bowie album Mike?

Mike Garson: Obviously I love Aladdin Sane, but also Hunky Dory, Young Americans, and Outside.

bigbrother: Hello Mike, looking good-feeling great?, Please will you persuade David to perform "Lady Grinning Soul" or "Somebody Up There" on the tour!

Mike Garson: I will pass it on....

laurence: Hi Mike! Thanks for being with us tonight. How 's David a few minutes before entering the stage? Is he nervous?

Mike Garson: More focussed than nervous. Perhaps a bit tense - until he hits the stage.

deiwob: Greg Peck died yesterday. What was/is your favorite actor?

Mike Garson: I love Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart. Jimmy Stewart

nemesis: If you were us and we were you, what question would you ask us... uhm, you... uhm, you get the drift...?

Mike Garson: I love the question, I'd probably be asking questions about the creative process, and the connection between spirituality and music.

whenimfive: If you could be a fly on the wall, where would that be??

Mike Garson: In my own mind.

ladyofthelake: How did it come to the Bowie/Garson connection ( long, long time ago ;) )?

Mike Garson: A singer named Annette Peacock introduced me to him. She actually told David about me. I played on one of her records and she liked my playing. Mick Ronson recorded one of her songs, called 'I'm the One' and I played on that too.

captnsdgtr: I am amazed by the range of musical styles you compose and perform in. I've read that you were trained in classical piano, but how did you get from there into jazz and rock?

Mike Garson: Not easily. I felt a need to improvise and write my own music. And the classical world was too limiting for me, except of course my own classical pieces which I composed myself.

LoveLow: Why did you cut of your hair (looks good btw)?

Mike Garson: Because there was not too much left...

mompou: Do you ever write for film scores? How about writing a score for a silent movie with David Bowie as the protagonist?

Mike Garson: I'd love that! I did compose the score to 'Stigmata' with Billy Corgan. I also wrote the closing credits theme for Natalie Imbruglia called 'Identify' for that same film.

Enrico: Can you tell us about the Mike Garson band that opened the Diamond Dogs tour? What songs were you playing back then? and any recording left?

Mike Garson: First date was on the Young Americans tour that the Garson Band opened for David. Luther Vandross was singing, David Sanborn on sax, There might be some bootlegs floating around, I dunno.

pdxjac: What has been your favorite sounding Bowie tour

Mike Garson: There were several periods I enjoyed. I loved the Spiders, I loved the Young Americans, the Outside band, and of course, I love the current band immensely.

caroline: Do you play any other instruments besides the keyboards?

Mike Garson: Nothing worth speaking of. :)

caroline: Have you started rehearsals yet?

Mike Garson: Not yet.

caroline: Can you give us a hint about what kind of songs are on the new album?

Mike Garson: Nope! But its GREAT!

pdxjac: Are you using Reason more now?

Mike Garson: Only a little bit. I like the program 'Live' though.

Bianca: How did you become involved working live Smashing Pumpkins live some years back?

Mike Garson: They were looking for a keyboard player, David wasn't working at the time, and I liked their music - so I thought I'd give it a go. It was a fun tour. I even did their final tour and last show, which, sooner or later there will be a 5hr DVD of.

RaMOANa: Matt says you have a new grandson! CONGRATS!!!

Mike Garson: He'll be 5 years old next month. And a true character, at that.

Unicorn: Do you play mouth-organ?

Mike Garson: No.

Bianca: How important is improvisation in your piano-playing nowadays compared to the past?

Mike Garson: Very important, about 80% of everything I do these days is improvised.

pdxjac: Have you tried the new Moog?

Mike Garson: Not yet.

whenimfive: Are you involved in any charities

Mike Garson: Nothing in particular. Occasionaly I've done performances for various charities such as 'City of Hope'.

pdxjac: Do you give lessons on Improvising?

Mike Garson: Occasionally, when someone is very passionate about it. They're more like consultations, though.

Theodora: What's the meaning of life?

Mike Garson: Create.

LoveLow: If you weren't a musician what would you do?

Mike Garson: Be a doctor.

kate7: How much joy was it for you to play the complete LOW album on the last tour?

Mike Garson: Love Low

kate7: How much joy was it for you to play the complete LOW album on the last tour?

Mike Garson: It was challenging, and somewhat joyful...

Unicorn: What´ s your favourite movie?

Mike Garson: It's a wonderful life.

dreamgurl420: Just curious... What is your astrological sign, and would you say it fits you?

Mike Garson: Leo. Some of it is accurate. And some of it, one can change when you know about the weaker elements of it.

f0ld: Do you ever get sick of having to look at Bowie's butt when you're on stage?

Mike Garson: The thought never occurred to me.

sejdb: If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be?

Mike Garson: Right where I am.

ladyofthelake: Does it feel good, to be you?

Mike Garson: Yes, but sometimes there are rough obstacles to overcome. But everyone has that.

nemesis: Thrusty?

Mike Garson: No comment.

kate7: How do you spend your spare time (if any?!)?

Mike Garson: Compose, play the piano, spend time with my wife, children, and grandson.

RogInLA: What are you going to do after todays chat?

Mike Garson: I'm recording today in my studio.

f0ld: How long have you been married?

Mike Garson: 35 years.

bigbrother: Who is your favourite composer

Mike Garson: I have several. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Rachminoff, and Gershwin.

Bianca: What is the most enjoyable part of being "on the road"?

Mike Garson: When a great performance occurs. What we call "The Magic".

mego: Can you juggle fire?

Mike Garson: I'll eat it.

bent: What do you think of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an exhibition? Do you ever play it?

Mike Garson: I love that peice.

captnsdgtr: If you could pick one song/piece and one venue, what would you play and where?

Mike Garson: I'd improvise something on the spot. Trying to capture how I felt at that given moment.

bigbrother: Do you like eric sarte?

Mike Garson: I do.

f0ld: Do you have any piercings or tattoos?

Mike Garson: Zero

bigbrother: Hammersmith was just that for me, was it for you

Mike Garson: Which Hammersmith??

bigbrother: Hammersmith 2002, I was at the front in front of you

Mike Garson: Very good show. We've had even better though.

mompou: Do you like the movie Spinal Tap?

Mike Garson: It's funny.

Theodora: What is your biggest flaw?

Mike Garson: Thinking too much.

whenimfive: What is yyour all time favorite Bowie hairstyle? Why does he keep changing them?

Mike Garson: I love the Ziggy one.

whenimfive: What is your all time favorite Bowie hairstyle? Why does he keep changing them?

Mike Garson: He probably changes them for variety... and boredom.

mompou: At which point do you collaborate with Bowie. From point zero, or after looking at a lyric sheet?

Mike Garson: It has varied over the years. Every which way possible.

mompou: Do you love Afro-Cuban music? Your style is sort of like Bartok meets Cuco Sanchez.

Mike Garson: I do like Afro-Cuban music. I love a John Coltrane piece called Afro Blue.

whenimfive: Do you write lyrics?

Mike Garson: Very, very seldom.

Unicorn: Does David sometimes hear Marc Bolan´s music?

Mike Garson: I guess so.

bent: Is your playing on the new album as avant garde as on Outside and to some degree Earthling, or is it more conventional? Or is that secret too? ;p

Mike Garson: That's a secret too...

whenimfive: What is it about David that amazes you the most?

Mike Garson: His flexibility as an artist, and his refusal to rest on his laurels. Always searching intent. Incidently he's got a phenomenal voice.

pdxjac: Have you ever questioned what you were playing on davids records and then later really liked it

Mike Garson: I usually know if it's happening, and if it's not, I try to do a re-take.

mego: What's one thing about yourself (no Bowie!) that you'd like for us all to know?

Mike Garson: That I love creating, all the time, in one form or another.

pdxjac: Do your belive in once is a mistake twice is jazz?

Mike Garson: Not really.

captnsdgtr: What's your proudest moment?

Mike Garson: The birth of my children.

Theodora: What's the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?

Mike Garson: My wife - knowing when reel me in - on somewhat of a continual basis.

mompou: Will you take your kids to the circus on Fathers' Day? I hear it's in town.

Mike Garson: Both my kids are married - so no.

bent: Have you done any solo touring recently, or are you planning to do some?

Mike Garson: I've done a few solo concerts around the country over the last few months. They have been very, very enjoyable. I'll be picking that up after the Bowie Tour finishes. I'm also going to Taiwan for 10 concerts next year.

Bianca: Which is the latest concert you have been to?

Mike Garson: Went to see the Rolling Stones.

lgsstef: A friend of mine had been to the NAMM music fair this year as a worker for Ernie Ball. Have you been there, too?

Mike Garson: No, I haven't

Bianca: Are there any CDs you would like to recommend?

Mike Garson: Missa Solemnis, by Beethoven

Bianca: Are there any CDs you would like to recommend?

Mike Garson: John Coltrane - A Love Supreme, Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue

Bianca: Are there any CDs you would like to recommend?

Mike Garson: Bill Evans - Live at the Village Vanguard

whenimfive: What's your tip of the day?

Mike Garson: Relax. Be in the moment. Stay aware of everything that comes out of your mouth.

Mike Garson: (This user is now known as Webmaster)

Webmaster: Mike Garson has left the building.

Session Close: Friday June 13th 2003

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Created: March 2003 © Paul Kinder Last Updated: 21/12/02