David Bowie’s death is another wake-up call to enjoy classic rockers while we can



davidbowie3There’s been much said and written about David Bowie since his death on Sunday, but two things in particular have stayed in my mind.

The first was written by sports writer Bomani Jones, who penned a piece on Bowie for Playboy. The final words of his piece were as follows:

What will the world be like without David Bowie? We had a glimpse of that, when he went 10 years without releasing new music. Then 2013’s The Next Day was released out of nowhere, and it seemed like there would always be a great David Bowie album around the corner. Today, we have to deal with sobering reality — that there will never be another David Bowie, that we lost the only one there will ever be.

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The second was written by music producer Michael Beinhorn on Facebook (via Tommy Lee’s twitter), and it’s a must read for anyone interested in music:

The gaping hole that Bowie has left is a reminder that great talent is a a precious resource and one that we have been taking for granted for far too long. Great talent is also the absolute and only source of great art and great art is both a reflection and an emanation of the society it inhabits. Great art is a feedback mechanism- a from within a society that expresses and enriches it and is consequently fed by that society and its people. And it exists this way as a reflection- a love letter to itself- in order to perpetuate that absolutely vital and beautiful feedback.

A David Bowie could only exist as we knew him because he evolved in a society (and a music business) that was both conducive to, and supportive of great art and great artists. If those conditions had not existed for him, it is likely we would never have known him as we do.

We presently exist in a society that is neither conducive to or accepting of great art, great artists or any form of artistic expression. We also co-exist with a music business that rejects art- has no conception of it and no awareness of music as being anything other than a commodity. Although art is gradually marginalized around us moreso every day, we- as individuals and as a society- can exist it without it no more than a prisoner in solitary confinement can exist without human contact. In both cases, a human being exhibits all the functional aspects of being a living organism, but his humanity gradually dies inside of him.

Instead of ignoring this reality, instead of pretending it will pass or buying into the fallacious notion that everything is cyclical (and that all you need do is sit passively and wait for the cycle you’re in to come back around), it is imperative to take this moment- the passing of this great, great man- and use it as a means to aspire to be the pinnacle of what you came here to do. There has to- there must be- a positive upshot to this experience, otherwise Bowie’s existence will have been meaningless. If you ever loved his work- if it ever touched you or changed you- he gave you a gift that is imprinted within you forever. You are therefore, both honor and duty-bound to be brave and make your difference in this world. Right now.

Bowie was an innovator but he was courageous as fuck- especially in the face of immense adversity. I’m seeing so many people lovingly eulogizing him- honoring his career and his intrepid brilliance- but there is little said regarding how his process of constant reinvention was infused with career- threatening risk and it often repulsed his fans. No one has mentioned how reviled he was in the rock community when he did a complete 180 from glam to disco. The point is, he never did anything safe, he never plateaued and he never took the easy route. He took numerous extraordinary risks and he followed his intuition without concern for the consequences. That- all of it- is what an artist does. If you consider yourself an artist, you have a responsibility to not cower- to stop permitting people who don’t know anything about you (or about music) to dictate how and what you create.

Remember- often, what is truly great is neither safe nor easy. Your responsibility is to the gift inside you- to honor your voice and to do what you love the very most. Do that and in some small way, you’ll make David Bowie’s life and death in this life meaningful. Let the passing of his life illuminate, invigorate and accelerate the necessity of yours.

There’s much to consider in what Beinhorn wrote, and some of the points he raises are compelling topics of discussion that we’ll save for another time. What I want to focus on is what he says in the first sentence: “Great talent is a a precious resource and one that we have been taking for granted for far too long.”

Bowie’s death was stunning in its suddenness and unexpectedness, and the postmortem is stunning in its emptiness. As Jones says, Bowie is not only gone, but there’s nobody out there to fill his shoes. There is indeed a void in the world because we not only lost a unique, transcendent artist — we also know that we may never see the likes of him again.

I feel the state of music today isn’t one that is devoid of quality or artistry, despite the picture Beinhorn paints (although he’d know better than I would, certainly). There are exciting talents out there and pure, genuine artists, although sometimes it feels like there’s too much muck that we have to wade through in order to find them, and surely more will pop up in the future. But the generation of artists that Bowie was from is special, and it’s going to continue to get smaller and smaller.

We celebrate birthdays a lot on Rocknuts as it seems like every day we send out birthday wishes on our Facebook page to a musician who is turning a year older. Quite a few of those musicians are around the same age or older than Bowie was when he passed. It’s hard not to look at it every day and realize that we don’t know how much time some of them have left. That fact has been hammered further home over the past couple of weeks with the deaths of Natalie Cole and Lemmy Kilmister.

And, as is the case with Bowie, the deaths of those artists left a void — a void will just get bigger as more of them leave us.

I’ve seen multiple people say that it seemed like Bowie would always be here and that the thought of him not being with us was never one that entered into their mind. Now that he’s gone, people are only now digging into his catalog and wishing they had a chance to experience him more while he was alive and see him in concert. That feeling will just repeat itself in the future as we lose more artists from Bowie’s generation.

Therefore, the time is now to enjoy these artists while we can — experience their bodies of work while they are still here and see them live while we still have the chance. David Gilmour, AC/DC, Robert Plant, and Bruce Springsteen will all be touring in the coming months; those would be a great place to start.

By Photographer: Photobra|Adam Bielawski Derivative work: Y2kcrazyjoker4 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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4 comments on “David Bowie’s death is another wake-up call to enjoy classic rockers while we can
  1. I LIKE TO SAY HE CHANGE ME BACK IN THE 70’S. WE LISTEN TO HIS MUSIC EVERYDAY. HE WAS AND STILL IS TO ME THE FIRST ARTIST THAT DID NOT GIVE A SHIT WHAT COLOR YOU SKIN WAS OR WHO YOU WERE. HE ENCOURAGE SO MANY ARTIST AND WROTE SONGS FOR SO MANY ARTIST. I HONOR HIM IN MY OWN WAY BY SITTING BACK REMEMBER EVERYTHING HE HAS ACCOMPLISHED, REMEBERING HIS MUSIC, AL WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE FOR ONE OF THE BEST.

  2. I wasn’t really into David Bowie’s music although I did like some of his songs and would say he did create an image especially of his Ziggy Stardust character. I would like to add that the 1970’s music brought so many bands to light, the music from 70 to 80 was probably the best, mostly to me from the English groups. Rest in peace David Bowie.

  3. Pingback: Get chills watching Springsteen’s tribute to Glenn Frey | Rocknuts

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