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Loving The Alien

14 Jan

“Come on! … Come on, you guys”! Yet another day of nagging, I thought to myself. Is this what had become of me?

“Come on!  This is getting ridiculous …the food is getting cold already … by the time you eat it, it’ll…my voice trailed off. “All right then” as I was getting ready to go into a tirade of unutterable words, the phone rang.

“Hi Carlos, I have David on the other line. Can you hold on?” It was Eileen from David Bowie’s Office. It was great to hear Eileen’s voice.

  “Sure” I said, as I licked my now, dry lips with my tongue. Was my mouth dry because of the nervousness or was it that I had wasted all my salivary fluids, drooling over the lost meal I was missing out on?

“Here’s David” she said and then, there was silence.

“Carlos?” came the voice on the other end of the phone.

“David?” I replied. Then we both started laughing. That exchange was always funny, no matter how many times we did it, but it was always totally enjoyable. “Is that really you?” I questioned

“Yea mate. How ya been?”

“Hey man! Pretty good” I replied as I waited to see what could have David Bowie, calling me after 6 years. God! Had it really been that long? I pondered on how long. About as long as it took my family to come to the table to eat, I thought, as they finally sat themselves down and started to complain about their cold food.

“What was this once? Dad, Huh?”  My budding daughter Lea Lorien asked in her snide voice. “Stop that, and eat your food,” retorted my wife Robin. “Can’t you see your father’s on the phone.”

“Thank you Robin,” I said, cupping the phone.

  “So what’s up?” I asked, getting back to David. “How’s married life treating you?

“Oh Man! Its Great” he replied. And then we talked. About this and that, who and when, where and how and then, he suddenly interjected.


“What?” I replied,

“5:30…Can you be in the studio at 5:30?”

“Sure, I guess” I continued “but, what’s happening? I questioned.

“Well,” he began  “I’m in the studio… Brian is here”. As he started talking, you could tell he was really getting excited. It seems he and Brian Eno were at it again, recording a new album and I guess David wanted to get that old “Trilogy” feeling again. It was a welcome thought considering the fact that David had spent so many Years with “Tin Machine” (another pseudonym for David Bowie).

I guess David had gotten discouraged. He must have finally realized, that a group effort means a total group effort. Good times and bad, thick and thin, money or no money. 

Yea, Sure!  As far as “Times” were concerned… The few British clippings I could get my hands on confirmed that they were progressively becoming bad times, the creative stream, it seems had long since thinned out, and the “monies” spent, were usually his.

Anyway, he wanted me to come to the Hit Factory in N.Y.C to record his new album.

Glancing over at Robin while I listened, I could see her lips forming the usual phone question, “Who is it?”

“David” I Shot back, in dumb tongue.

“David?” she questioned, with that look of David Who? “Bowie, David Bowie” I shot back in spoken tongue hoping to quiet her. But she wouldn’t have it. Up she got, and over to the phone she came. Standing next to me, in order to listen, she pressed herself close and lent an ear.


“Onions?” she questioned.

“Yea, Onions.” I replied. With visions of Buckwheat and Darla from the “Little Rascals” dancing in my head, I placed some distance between my lovely, but odoriferous wife and refocused on the phone conversation.

“Yeah man! … Aha…well, look …yeah…whatever you need…you know I’ll be there … and David …Thanks for the phone call … O.K.  I’ll see you then…”and just like that, it was over.

Turning back to Robin I could tell I’d have to start from the beginning and tell her everything, which I did.

After I  finished, she looked at me with that I’m-your-wife-and-I-told-you-he’d-call-look and said. “I guess he wants to be David Bowie again”. So much for Tin Machine. 

Not one to go one-on-one with an old I-told-you-so-pro, like my wife, I could only look at her and say “I guess your right.”

Chapter 1

(THE ALBUM)… to be continued…


Touring with the Big Boys

10 Jul

            I’ve often been asked what’s it like going on tour with Superstars like David Bowie or Iggy Pop.

Sometimes I’m even asked to go overseas and tour in Japan, Australia, Europe or China. Touring has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

It started back in 1970 when I was hired to play guitar for Sesame Street on tour.

Sesame Street premiered on November 10, 1969. As their first season was a phenomenal hit, they commissioned a children’s tour to promote the series and off I went. Before then I had not traveled at all.          

I was just 19, recently married and with my wife’s blessing and guitar in hand, I was ready to go out and conquer the world . 

Touring by definition can also come to mean many things. A tour of Military duty for instance. It would seem from the above description that the only thing missing was the army physical and boot camp. But sometimes the lines do get blurred. Some tours can be national and others international, as you leap-frog from hotel to hotel. Some can last a month others a year. Some, even longer as Superstars try to capitalize on their popularity as they go from album to tour and tour to album, all in a mindless blur of one-nighters.

     Some of the Locales are breath-taking though. Foreign spots like Hawaii, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, and others offer the musician an ability to understand people and customs in their own setting. Thus the understanding of interpersonal relationships becomes much more developed than let’s say tO the non-traveler. Even the vegetation and wildlife makes you feel like you’re on another planet. It is sometimes overwhelming how vibrant life can be, when it is found naturally. But that is not to say that beauty and culture cannot be found nationally. The sunsets in Tucson were overwhelmingly beautiful and if you should ever ride horseback in Wyoming, well… you would never leave. From the Grand Canyon to the Louisiana Bayou beauty can be found at home as well as abroad.

    But Touring also has its drawbacks. I’ve seen musicians mesmerized by the allure and glamour of the stage. Go buck-wild and crazy. Losing their self-respect, their honor, their families and themselves. Pumped up with accolades and adoring fans, drug pushers and groupies. Some leave behind their jeans and don the regalia of leather and eye shadow, that marks the beginning of the end. Others, I am happy to report, make life long friends and allow themselves the privilege of sharing the journey with others. It is a strong man who can keep his senses in a room filled with so many fragrances.

    But the friends/fans that you make in your travels are truly what makes it all worth while. Every time you return you expect to see them, as they wait on bated breath for your approach as well. And as the years pass, you see less and less of them. Some move on as the fragrance of a sweeter music draws them like bees to a flower. Some pass on to a better place and some overcome by time and obligation never leave their abodes. And when that time comes you know it’s time to go home.

    Musicians have a term that’s call “Road Shock” Just like the military have ” Shell Shock” . It’s that feeling that you get at the dining room table… it’s about 7pm…you’re finally home…you’re waiting for your food and yet you feel this adrenalin rushing through your system (your body and mind are still on stage, waiting for the applause). After dinner you feel uneasy and anxious (Where’s the after-party)…you can’t seem to go to sleep..(next club,anyone?).

Yeah, sometimes the lines get blurred….I guess that’s why they call it…a tour.

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