Spider From Mars: My Life with Bowie is one of the better written Rock Biographies.
Michael ‘Woody’ Woodmanssey was the drummer for David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars era. As such, Woody played on the four seminal albums that broke Bowie in the UK and the US:
- The Man Who Sold the World (1970)
- Hunky Dory (1971)
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
- Aladdin Sane (1973)
Woodmansey also lived with David and his wife Angela Bowie along with Mick Ronson (guitar) and Trevor Bolder (bass). The songs were written by Bowie, arranged by Ronson, and finalized by the band in basement of Bowie’s home. These songs took off in a big way. Bowie went from playing coffee houses with an acoustic guitar to selling out the biggest venues for multiple dates. It happen almost overnight. Woody brings the reader into this world and we share his excitement. Not only is Woody a good writer, but he learned faster than most the dangers of drugs and the Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle. It’s such a common rock story that when Woody starts turning down drugs and sex it’s almost shocking. It’s a shame David Bowie couldn’t have seen these dangers, but Bowie was under enormous pressure that a mere drummer wasn’t.
It was a short fall for Woodmansey, once David fires the band.
The Bowie story is book-ended by Woodmansey’s early upbringing and post Bowie career. He was good in school until he discovered music, namely drumming. He played in a couple local bands until a guitarist from nearby Hull, Mick Ronson, asked him to join his band. When Woody was asked by Ronson and Bowie to join the Spiders.. it was a difficult decision. Woody had just been given an opportunity for a big promotion at the factory he was working at to a management level job.. a job he enjoyed. Meanwhile, David Bowie was a one-hit wonder, who’s prospects after 8 years in the business were not that great. And once in London, Woody was making less money than he did in his cover band. But he stuck with it, and rest is history.
After Bowie, Woody toured with a number of bands. Woody recounts those highlights in this book. He also tours in a Bowie Tribute band with Tony Visconti (Bowie’s producer and bass player).
If you want to know about David Bowie and the Ziggy period of his history, this is the book for you.
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