Creem FEBRUARY 1978 - by Trixie A. Balm


Since before I can remember almost, there was never a "genuine" David Bowie character. Ingeniously (?) glittered-out onstage, attired in make up and hair dye with acoustic 12-string guitar strapped across his narrow chest as he gazed into space (the stage lights, really), this Bowie was sometimes known by his Christian name, "David".

Something changed. Again and Again. That's not unusual - he's the epitome of Change for Change's sake (self-discontent, perhaps?). Anyhow, Bowie's always been interesting - partly for that reason.

Bowie (no longer David, ever, you'll notice) has always also, effortlessly it seems, devised mystique and controversy around himself more cleverly than eight Brian Epsteins combined.

I've had more fun arguing about, and hearing other people's reaction to. Bowie: another reason he's interesting. Any move made by him provoked the most inspired inanities. One of my former friends (asshole) still persists in thinking Bowie's God (a '70s Krishna - I'd say some sort of Zeitgeist, to be technical).

Low came out and John Rockwell in his N.Y. Times column quoted from Be My Wife. Disco and all, he guessed he liked it. Made me crack up. I hope "Heroes" perpetuates this trend of absurd reading-in-profundity controversy over Bowie; at least as a character he will keep on entertaining me.

Artistically, as a musician-singer-songwriter, me-thinks Bowie's begun to be a bore. Okay, I admire his integrity and courage in pursuing the new, trying to blaze unforaged (pop?) musical turf (experimental music, call it), and living vicariously through Iggy (bless 'em both). Most of side two on "Heroes", though, bores me like the Fripp/Eno albums of "atmospheric music". I don't care about time and effort spent in studios overdubbing tapes/loop/synthesizerized sub-white noise that make no recognizable musical sounds per se. Let's hear some hooks, guys!

Side one of "Heroes" fits the bill, more or less... at least there are songs with lyrics, guitars, keyboards, percussion, and OK vocals. First hearing "Heroes" on radio, I thought an earnest Bryan Ferry imitator was singing. (Shows that Bowie still cares about being a vocalist - all right!) Seeing the album cover, I thought an imitation Gene Pitney, thinned down and blow-dried, was posing. But let's not get carried away with analogies, or spiteful in tone (me? never!). Bowie's an original sum-total of his influences. Even if he wasn't aware that (Andalusian Dog - aka Un Chien Andalou) was a pretentious, unhip film to show before his performance during the Station To Station tour, credit the man for trying.

Bowie's not bland yet - but I feel he will be, if he veers into more cryptic lyricizing and discoid blah-shit (guitarist Carlos Alomar, bassist George Murray and drummer Dennis Davis his consorts, along with special guests Eno and Fripp assisting).

In the final assessment, "Heroes" doesn't rock. It kinda leans against the wall, acting real cool, absorbing the world in a test tube. Dig?