My friend Peter just painted and gave this to me. It’s the cover of one of my favorite albums, David Bowie’s “Heroes”:
I started listening to David Bowie very much by accident. In fact, I think he may have been the first musician I really started listening to. It all came about when we got a new family computer for Christmas. We didn’t have the internet, but it came with Microsoft Encarta. Randomly browsing Encarta during the evenings took the place (poorly) of surfing the internet back in those days. One night I was reading about the history of rock and roll, and they included a 10-second clip of Bowie’s “Changes”. I was intrigued by the music and decided that when I got older, I was definitely going to learn more about him and perhaps buy some of his music.
I did, in fact, buy some of his music. In 11th grade I bought a tape of “Lodger” from the giant grocery store near my house. They had a bin full of tapes going for cheap. I think it was fifty cents or a dollar.
The album cover that Peter painted is special for a number of reasons. To start with, I think “Hereos” is a very strong album in its own right. It was the second album that Bowie and Brian Eno had teamed up to make. As a little preview, “Joe the Lion” (an old favorite of mine) bristles with Robert Fripp’s guitar:
Whereas “Low” delved into slightly more proto-electronic territory, Bowie and Eno channeled those textures into a more conventional guitar-based album on “Hereos”.
Although I think I introduced the album to Peter years ago, he helped me understand the album cover. Bowie’s pose was an assimilation of some of Austrian painter Egon Schiele’s concepts. Peter had already been interested in Schiele’s paintings, and here on this cover the two artists merged.
Peter is in New York right now honing his painting craft. It’s been exciting to watch him continue to advance and sharpen his skills. Anyway, I thought this was a really nice gift, and I’m looking forward to hanging it above all my synthesizers. Perhaps I can channel “Hereos” a bit like Bowie channeled Schiele.