Pop star Bowie, one other, killed in blast
Los Angeles, CA, May 17 - The San Fernando Valley was rocked today by a mysterious early morning explosion at the site of famed singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb’s recording studio. Superstar rock and roll chameleon David Bowie was killed, as was the lesser known James Osterberg. Osterberg, known as “Iggy Pop” to his fans, had been recording demos with Bowie, who had become something of a mentor to the young singer. Currently struggling with drug addiction, “Pop” was on a weekend leave from UCLA Hospital where he is registered in a recovery program. Sources close to the two musicians agreed that Bowie was filled with excitement about the latest collaboration with “Pop,” writing new songs and playing electric guitar on some tracks.
The cause of the massive carnage is still unclear, say fire investigators. However, a clue may be found in a recent appearance by Bowie on the television talk show hosted by Dick Cavett. In December of last year, Bowie was a guest on the program and spoke nervously about the potential destruction of, what he referred to as, “black noise.”
Bowie, who was known for his famed glitter-rock persona of Ziggy Stardust earlier the 1970’s, appeared on the Cavett show resplendent in blue long sleeved shirt, suspenders and baggy trousers beneath a flaming swath of orange hair, and delved into his explorations of the devastating power of sound waves. Said Bowie, “black-noise is the register within which you can crack a city or people or... it's a new control bomb. It's a noise-bomb, in fact, which can destroy.” Further, Bowie said he had been looking into ideas for such a device in the French government’s patent office and that they were available for the equivalent of three or four dollars. When Cavett asked about the potential firepower of such a weapon, Bowie replied, “it depends how much money you put into it. I mean, a small one could probably kill about half the people here [in the studio]. But a big one could destroy a city or even more.” The annihilation of Webb’s temporary studio may have been the result of Bowie’s pursuit of a “black noise” bomb.
Dick Cavett, the impish television talk show host, was reached for comment. Reflecting on the interview of December last and its connection to Bowie’s death, Cavett was shocked. “Though I enjoyed David’s songs and found him a fascinating subject, I really thought him ridiculous. His talk of William S. Burroughs, Paris and ‘black noise’ was, to me, silly and affected. I’m stunned to find it was all deadly serious.”
Bowie, born David Robert Jones on January 8, 1947, was the rock and roll equivalent of Lon Chaney, his many faces confusing critics and delighting fans. After changing his name to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees, Bowie burst onto the music scene with the 1969 hit “Space Oddity.” In turns a hippie folkster, the King of Glam Rock and, most recently, a clean cut, straight laced purveyor of Philadelphia soul music and dance music, Bowie was a man in constant flux.
John Lennon, who collaborated with Bowie in January on the disco-fied “Fame” (scheduled for a July release), was deeply upset upon hearing the news. From his apartment in New York’s fabled Dakota Towers, the ex-Beatle said Bowie’s death was “a senseless loss, a tragedy. David was so young and had so much to give, musically speaking. To lose him through a pointless act of violence is staggering.”
The career of the emaciated and platinum-haired “Iggy Pop” has been one of underground critical acclaim coupled with the neglect of the record buying public. Hailing from the Detroit area, his band, The Stooges, made three albums from 1969-1973, their last produced by Bowie. Bowie and “Pop” met in 1971 at Max’s Kansas City, a New York music club. From that point forward, Bowie has acted as a career mentor and guru to his troubled, and sometimes violent, protégé. Osterberg was 28.
In May 1975, David Bowie and Iggy Pop began a recording session that included “Moving On,” a free association rant coming straight from Iggy’s deep drug addiction. Though the session was halted, the song would emerge two years later as “Turn Blue,” featured on the Bowie produced Lust for Life album. On December 5, 1974 Bowie appeared on The Dick Cavett Show and spoke at length about the power of a “noise bomb.”