INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Nashville Scene MARCH 31, 2010 - by Adam Gold
BRIAN ENO GETS PUNK'D
Family Wash fixture Reeves Gabrels wasn't always one of the dukes of East Nashville. As guitarist for David Bowie, he spent thirteen years traversing the globe and racking up a backlog of adventurous tales that likely trump the fantasies of any aspiring rock star. One particular standout was how he struck terror in the heart of one of rock's most revered sonic innovators.
The story goes something like this: While working on Bowie's 1995 industrial concept album 1.Outside, legendary producer Brian Eno took a liking to a comely checkout clerk at the studio's neighboring pharmacy. Eno - long known for his mischievous tendencies to "tweak people a bit" - took a novel approach in trying to elicit a response from the lovely lass: Every day or two, he would stop by the drugstore on his way into the studio and purchase a box of twelve condoms, hoping the girl would eventually ask what he was using them for.
Before long, Gabrels and Bowie decided to give Eno a taste of his own medicine. They commissioned an actor to pose as the clerk's biker boyfriend, then watched as the raving brute barged into the studio to confront the wily producer. Terrified by threats of having his ass kicked and his work visa revoked, Eno hastily concocted the most implausible of bogus explanations: He wore the condoms on his fingers while playing piano, to protect his calluses. Making matters worse, a camera crew he and Bowie brought in to document the recording process managed to catch the entire altercation on film.
"It was so awkward, and went so wrong, that we didn't tell Brian until after we were done recording," Gabrels says. "He said he thought it was funny, but David didn't think he actually saw any humour in it."