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 Ken Scott and David Brighton
World renowned producer/engineer, Ken Scott, has recorded many of the most influential albums in the history of Rock music - David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust LP being among them. Before his legendary collaboration with Bowie, Ken had already worked with a number of the 20th Century's top acts, including; The Beatles, Elton John, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. He also engineered George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, John Lennon's Cold Turkey, and went on to produce DEVO, Missing Persons, The Tubes, Harry Nilsson, Supertramp and many, many more. 

While at the helm with Bowie, Ken recorded the Space Oddity album (originally entitled: Man Of Word, Man Of Music), The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Aladdin Sane, Pin Ups, The Ziggy Stardust Motion Picture soundtrack, and The 1980 Floor Show (David Bowie's Midnight Special television special on NBC). Our own David Brighton had the pleasure of interviewing this music business icon in Los Angeles, CA.

David Brighton: Before meeting up with the Bowie camp, you'd already worked with some of the most talented musicians on the planet, including the greatest band in the world - The Beatles. One would imagine that it would have taken a lot to impress you after that. What was your initial impression of the then unknown singer/songwriter, David Bowie? Did you expect him to become a major force in the rock world?

Ken Scott: I can't say I did. I really liked Space Oddity, which was recorded  before I met him, but although I thought he was a nice guy, I didn't see anything different about him until we started to go through material for Hunky Dory. That was the turning point for me.

DB: George Martin once said that after working with the Beatles for a short while, there was a certain point where he recognized that they were vastly more talented than he had initially realized. Would you say that you came to a similar realization with Bowie at that time?

KS: Yes.... When I first heard the material for Hunky Dory, it was immediately obvious to me that he had taken a huge step forward from The Man Who Sold The World.  "This is good!" I thought... Very clever... David made some great records... as we're talking about them 30 years on, I guess they have to be called classics...

DB: You've been quoted as saying that you never expected to be talking about these records thirty years later. I'm wondering what you think Bowie's expectations might have been?  He has been quoted as saying things like "if you want to be canonized, write a good song."  

KS: We're not saying different things. My belief is that he's still thinking from one good song to the next. He was savvy enough to understand how fickle the record buying public could/can be. He understood better than most that you have to try and be one step ahead to keep the interest. Therefore you can be canonized for a good song on album "A" but you'd better keep it going and come up with another good song on album "B". Which leads to, we only thought as far as the next album, six months down the line. Wouldn't it have been a tad presumptuous of us to think that any of the albums we made together would be THAT big/important that we'd have to revisit or talk about them 30 years later ???????? Defries maybe,
(Tony Defries, David's manager at the time) David Bowie or I, I don't think so.


Trevor Bolder, Woody Woodmansey,  Bowie and Ronno

DB:  You recorded all of the albums  from the period that many consider to be the most seminal chapter in Bowie's career - The Ziggy Stardust era... the music that made him a superstar.  Your contribution to his success was immense. Looking back at it today, how do you view the role you played in the making of the Bowie/Ziggy phenomenon?

KS: My role? Important. Very important. Equally as important as Mick Ronson's role, Woody Woodmansey's role, Trevor Bolder's role and David's Role. Over the years I have come to learn that it's teamwork that counts. No one can do it all by themselves. When that team clicks, it's amazing what can come from it.

DB: When it came to mixing those albums, how much was done by technical expertise, how much was instinct, and how much was by experimentation? Those mixes are all impeccable.

KS:  Thank you. Making a record is completely subjective. I mix so I like it. I can't  get in someone else's head and say if I do this they'll like it, even though I hate it. So I would think it's 10% technical expertise, 20% experimentation and 70% instinct, mixed with a lot of luck.

DB: An entire generation of musicians, producers and engineers studied the records you recorded and mixed to learn how things should be done. What Bowie tracks and/or albums are you the most pleased with your production and mixes on?


KS: Let me start off by saying there is no "how things should be done". What I did on those records was what I thought should be done at that minute of that day in that year and so on and so forth. If there were a rule book of what to do to record a decent sounding record everything would sound the same. My likes and dislikes of what I've done in the past, Bowie or whomever, changes constantly. If, and that's a big IF, I happen to listen to one of my oldies, something can leap out that I've never noticed before and for that moment I really like that track and then I'll find fault with something else about it. I have yet to make what I consider to be a perfect record. I probably never will but I hope to keep trying for as long as I'm able.



DB: Certain "imperfections" can be found on records made in the 60s and the early 70s that we don't really hear on modern recordings. Human things like Bowie's voice cracking slightly on the last chorus of Moonage Daydream...  or hearing the singer taking breaths in-between lines. Sometimes mistakes were left in. Many feel that this made the older records feel alive; more organic and kept them from sounding sterile. Did you encourage Bowie and the Spiders very often to leave things on the records that they wanted to redo?

KS: I can't honestly remember any things specifically. Please remember we had major time restraints and so unless something was detrimental to the recording it would be left. Besides, certain of those things, ie the voice cracking, are known by us old timers as "feel."

DB: How do you view the fact that that those kind of "imperfections" are not really allowed nowadays?

KS: I have to say "Different strokes for different folks" I personally find so much of today's music soul-less and although getting rid of those imperfections isn't the specific cause, it is part of the overall problem! (Laughs)

DB: Some artists can be pretty intense during the recording process. Can you share with us how Bowie and the various Spiders carried themselves in the studio - and given their various personalities and temperaments, what kind of challenges you faced in drawing the best performances out of them?

KS: Working with the right team makes any producer/engineer's life easy.  We had fun. We quickly learned each others strengths and weaknesses and from there we could let it all happen. Let's face it, when you have a vocalist like "one take" Bowie and a guitarist like Ronno how hard can it be? Then add Woody and Trevor to the mix. Fun, fun, fun.


David recording Pin Ups

DB: Bowie's singing on some songs sounds like a theatrically trained voice. Did he ever talk to you at all about his musical training?

KS: We never discussed it. But I think it's obvious that David was highly influenced by Anthony Newley and you can't get much more theatrical than some of his performances.

DB: Did you give Bowie much input on how he might best approach a particular vocal in the studio?

KS: Are you f*%@ing kidding? Why would I do that ?

DB: Did I ask that question??? Some producers have been known to give input on pretty much everything. From "directing" the musicians and vocalists, to getting involved with the writing and the arrangements and choosing which songs a band would record. Clearly, you subscribe to a different philosophy.
       On the subject of choosing material... when Bowie's songs were presented to you in a skeletal form, as song demos were in the early 70s, (often with only a voice and a guitar or piano), how difficult was it to hear whether you liked the song or not? Is the ability among record producers and A&R people to hear a "diamond in the rough" becoming a lost art today?

KS: The demo situation came up only for Hunky Dory
.....The way it was when I first started was that the A&R person was also the producer. He found the act, he nurtured the act. He took his concept into the studio and lived or died by what happened there, he then worked with/told the marketing department how to sell it. But always remember that back then it wasn't crucial that the first (or second or third) album sell. If you signed a band, it was because you believed they would eventually strike a chord with the buying public and would eventually sell records. Not like today where it's basically first album doesn't go gold, bye bye.
     I came in at the beginning, kinda, of the independent producer. We were left alone to CREATE. That's what I've always considered an artist to be, someone who CREATES, with as few constraints as possible. You either believe in their ability or not.


Mick Ronson in the studio and on stage

DB: Mick Ronson's string arrangements were so effective... perfectly suited to the song. They never sounded bland, cheesy, or too saccharine. Do you credit this to Ronson's taste, or to Bowie's melodies and chord structures, or to both? Were the arrangements purely Ronson, or did you and/or Bowie have input on them?

KS: Whether David told him what to write, I really don't know. I have two points to make. Ronno was in Bowie's head and, not to blow my own trumpet, the mixes are real important.

DB: I have another question about Ronson. Did he play all of the electric guitars on albums like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane? For example, a song like Panic In Detroit has at least four guitar parts going at the same time. Were all of them played by Ronson?

KS: If I remember correctly, Ronno was THE guitarist. David certainly played acoustic on many tracks but I remember no-one else playing electric in the studio.

DB: As you stated earlier - you, Bowie and the Spiders made a great team. Were you disappointed when Bowie and Defries broke it up? Do you think that  there was more that that group of people could have accomplished together?


Woody Woodmansey

KS: The initial move of bringing in Aynsley worked.
(Aynsley Dunbar - drummer on Pin Ups and the 1980 Floor Show) I don't think it would have been better with Woody and I'm all for new participants to stir things up a little. And then when we recorded 1984/Dodo it became obvious that he was starting to change direction, so it was probably for the best.

DB: Speaking of 1984/Dodo, will there be an official release of The 1980 Floor Show on DVD?

KS: David expressed an interest to NBC, but they  wanted a lot of money, so I think not. As I recall, the show wasn't captured as it really went down... the cameras turned away from David and Ronno during the solo on Jean Genie because it was too provocative for the Network. 

DB: After the breakup of the Spiders, rather than having one set band, Bowie often employed a number of high powered side men. Although he continued to make great records, it was obviously a very different kind of feel. Do you have any thoughts/philosophies on the subject of Organic Band versus High Powered Side Men? Do you have a preference of one over the other to work with?

KS: I'll never forget the first time I heard  Five Years  played with an American drummer. It was exactly the same part as Woody had played but the feel was so different. I suddenly learned the real difference between English and American.
     I totally personally, have always preferred working with a young bunch of musicians who have to really work to get the final take as opposed to session musicians for whom everything comes easy. I honestly believe you get more feeling from the struggle.
     Having said that, I've been lucky enough to work with some of the greatest musicians ever and I love every thing we've done together. So who the hell knows. I suppose it comes down to what one is looking for for that particular recording.

DB: There was a special magic captured during your sessions with Bowie and the Spiders. Was it difficult to get it onto tape?

KS: I can't stress enough that we were, or maybe it was just me, having fun. We enjoyed what we were doing and I guess that comes across as "special magic". We liked what we were putting on tape, but that was us. If people still liked it six months down the line we'd done a good job.




DB: What is your favorite album that you did with Bowie? Fave songs?

KS: I guess I'd have to say Aladdin Sane. On that album we'd reached Ziggy's peak and to me that comes across. Love Moonage Daydream. Love Life On Mars. Bored with Changes and Suffragette.

DB: Some Bowie fans consider Aladdin Sane to be the best sounding Spiders era recording.  It's much more aggressive sonically than the other albums... the drum sound was much more Rock and Roll. Was there an upgrade in the equipment used between albums or different micing techniques?

KS: It got more raw as it went on... but it was exactly the same equipment. We were getting to know each other better.

DB: Bowie was playing the role of the 'wild mutation' during the years you worked with him. Did any of his much publicized personal eccentricities enter in at all during in your experiences working with him? Or was it purely a musical experience?

KS: Personal eccentricities ? We're Brits. Eccentricities are our life blood! Seriously though, the answer to the question is a big fat "No". Professional through and through. We were all there with one purpose in mind. "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll".......... came after, and only after, we completed the recording.

DB: Well Ken, I appreciate the interesting  insights you've shared about your life and your experiences working with Bowie and the Spiders. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview.

KS: Cheers!

January 2006


Click here to visit Ken Scott's Offical Web Site
 


The complete Mojo Magazine interview with David Brighton
Mojo - The world's most respected and authoritative rock magazine
Mojo: We have been thrilling to the Vittel water advert that you appeared in playing Bowie's various incarnations.
Where was the commercial  filmed, and when?

David: It was shot in New York City. We did it back in May... it took about a week to shoot. It was good fun.

Mojo: How did you get the job?

David: I got a call from the production people while I was out on tour. The producer told me that they were going to be making a commercial with David Bowie and that Bowie wanted them to bring in a look-alike to play Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, the Scary Monsters Clown, and a number of his other past personas. David would appear as he is today. So as soon as I got off the road they had me send them a stack of photos of me in my Bowie costumes. They also had me do a screen test in LA.  It took them a few days to call me back after that, and being your typical neurotic performer, I didn't think I'd gotten the part. My manager kept telling me "Of course you've got the part...don't be an idiot."

the real David Bowie on the set
David Bowie on the set

Mojo: How difficult was it to get the costumes and presentation right?

David: I think the director said it best when he described it as being monumentally difficult. But the team of people making it happen were all the top professionals in the movie industry. The costume, hair and makeup people were all brilliant. Matching all of Bowie's facial expressions and mannerisms was a real challenge. The director would have David Bowie shoot each scene in his street clothes and then have me re-shoot the same scene in costume and full makeup, replicating his every move and expression as closely as humanly possible. It wasn't easy.

Mojo: Was Bowie's face transferred onto yours for some sequences?

David: Yes absolutely. For a couple of characters (like the Diamond Dog) it was almost entirely Bowie's face that you were seeing. And on some others, some of Bowie's features were mixed in with mine as well. The post production people did a really impressive job with the computer graphics... morphing my features with Bowie's. The dilated pupil of course was his. Things like Ziggy with the blow dryer and the Ashes to Ashes clown were mostly me.

Brighton in Ziggy mode

Mojo: Do you know what Bowie thought of it?

David: He enjoyed filming it. He was having a great time. And I'm told that he was pleased with the final product. The news editor from David's official web site emailed me after it started airing to say that all the fans fell for it.  I think everybody was happy.

Mojo: What was your meeting like?

David: Meeting and working with Bowie was a bit surreal. Again, this is one of the few people who have affected the whole world with his music. He was very warm and friendly. He walks over with a big smile and a handshake, saying "Hi I'm David." Then the rest of the day he's telling stories and cracking jokes in between takes.

Mojo: When did people start telling you you looked so much like Bowie?

David: It's been happening since my late teens. It seems to happen more an more these days. It's pretty weird.

Mojo: How old were you when you started to be affected by his music?

David: I first heard Bowie's music when I was in High School. His rock stuff with the Spiders From Mars was what got my attention initially. Great songs, great vocals, Mick Ronson's great guitar sounds, great playing, great band, Mike Garson's piano… all brilliant. Very inspiring.
      And what happens? Years later, I find myself filming a commercial with him - but now I'm the one dressed like Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane.  So things have come full circle in ways I would have never expected.

Mojo: Many thanks for answering our questions David. All good wishes for the future.

David: It's my pleasure... Mojo is one of my favorite music magazines... Thank you for having me.

December 2003


Today's Performer speaks with David Bowie double - David Brighton
 
David in New York!

Actor / musician - David Brighton, portrays David Bowie's past personas in the TV commercial for Reality - Bowie's new CD. The very same ad is also Vittel Mineral Water's latest commercial. In the thirty second advertisement, the modern day Bowie walks through a house and in each room he bumps into different versions of himself - each from a different era of his career.
     When the David Bowie faced off with Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke and a host of other Bowie personas in the ground breaking ad,  Bowie fans worldwide had no idea they were seeing double.

Question: The news editor at Bowie Net says you did a great job in the commercial... all the fans fell for it.  How hard was it to pull that off?

David:  It was difficult. But the costume, hair, makeup, production and computer graphics people do all of Harrison Ford's movies and everyone else you can think of.  So it wasn't just me, though I appreciate the compliment. I was just the guy in the costumes...

David Brighton on set with Andrew Douglas (Director) and David Robinson (Wardrobe)

Question: Yes,  the costumes, hair and makeup were replicated to perfection.  But at the end of the day, you were the one in the costumes, the hair and makeup, having to convince the world that they were seeing David Bowie in his many phases. What was that like? What challenges did you face?

David: I think the biggest thing on all of our minds was that David Bowie himself was going to be watching. It's one thing to dress like someone and imitate them when they're not around... But when you know they're going to tell you what looks right and what doesn't -  from the costumes to the facial expressions and mannerisms - it's another kind of pressure altogether.

Aladdin Sane!

Question: Were you nervous?

David: Yes!  But as I said, there was a team of really talented people, all doing their parts. The hardest thing for me was to try to copy Bowie's every move and facial expression exactly. They'd have me watch Bowie do a scene and then they'd have me redo the same scene in the costume and the makeup that they wanted. So there were a zillion details to assimilate and recreate each time.

Hunky Dory!

Question: Was it your first time meeting Bowie, and what struck you most about him?

David: Yep, first time meeting him. It was interesting to see up close what makes him such a superstar. His range of performance skills seemed to be without end, even when he was just goofing around. When the director would tell him what he wanted and David would do something unexpected every time.

 Director, Andrew Douglas sets up the shot for David

Question:  How did Bowie and the director treat you?

David:  Both were perfect English gentlemen... very personable. Bowie was very  warm and friendly and very funny.  He seemed to be impressed with my Ziggy Stardust platform boots. "Those bring back memories!" he said, when he saw them. "Really well made too..." he went on... "Mine were cheap plastic things..."


 
  
 
I thought the director (Andrew Douglas) was brilliant as well.  I learned tons from being around the two of them. Andrew's expertise with people brought out the best performance in everybody. He was one of those people you felt like you've known your whole life, even though you just met him. He treated everyone as an equal. 

Question: Did you and David Bowie talk about your Bowie Tribute act?

David: We really didn't. The focus was very much on what was going on on the set. The director and other people asked about the act during breaks and so forth. But when Bowie was on the set, it was time to roll film. 
     Funny thing is, I don't know if I should be relieved or disappointed that he and I didn't talk about it. People like the Beatles didn't look at being impersonated in a very favorable manner. So I wasn't sure if Bowie would be into the tribute thing or not.

Diamond Dogs!

Question: Who's idea was it to use a look-alike rather than having David Bowie do all of his previous looks?

David: That was Bowie's idea... He only wanted to appear as he is today. I don't think he's interested in going back to his Ziggy days or any of that.  He's moving forward.

Question: Did Bowie himself see your screen test and choose you to play him in the commercial?

David: That's what I'm told. Bowie and the whole multitude of other people who are in on those kinds of decisions. The producer, the director, the casting director, the clients, etc. 

Question: Will the ad be aired in the U.S.?

David:  I don't know if they're going to show it here or not. But I think American audiences could use another David Bowie commercial. Why not give the one of the world's few creative genius's equal time? (Webmaster's note:  The commercial is now being aired in the United States, promoting Reality - David Bowie's new CD. It had only been aired in Europe and the UK at the time of this interview.)

The Thin White Duke!

Question: Are you planning to do more Television in the near future?

David: Actually there are some other things in the works as we speak. As soon as things are firmed up, I'll be able to say more. 

Question: Thanks for taking the time to share with us and best wishes for the future! Anything parting thoughts for our readers?

David:   Thanks for having me... It was a great making the ad. Let's do another one…

(Click here to see the commercial)

(Excerpts taken from Today's Performer, August 2003)


The Axeman Cometh:
Gene Loves Jezebel guitarist takes to the stars with Space Oddity
Switch on Lead Guitar!

"Switch," the award winning Canadian guitarist and recording artist, studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music before high tailing it to Hollywood to enroll at the Guitar Institute of Technology. He graduated 1st class honors, where the school dubbed him a "Success Story," having appeared with artists like; Gene Loves Jezebel, Nancy Sinatra, Bay City Rollers, House Of Lords, and the Bloody Lovelies (Josh Groban).  Now brandishing his six string razor with Space Oddity - the world famous David Bowie Tribute act, Switch goes boldly where no Canadian axeman has gone before... straight into the ranks of The Chosen Few. We caught up with the guitar slamming rocker for this exclusive, no holds barred interview...

Question: How does one transition from Gene Loves Jezebel to The Spiders From Mars with Space Oddity? What kinds of differences have you encountered?

Switch: Well, Gene Loves Jezebel is really an improvisational band. The goal is to try to make new music every day within the confines of the songs and hits. Of course there are certain things that have to happen musically to let the listener know what song you are playing, but it really is an environment of improvisation. I feel all the great rock bands that had this ability made it very exiting for both the musicians and the audience. And the energy of doing that in front of a live audience is the magic of a GLJ experience, along with some eye makeup.............!

Now with Space Oddity, the whole situation is to recreate as closely as possible the genius of Mick Ronson. So it becomes much more of a study of style, taste and respect to the music. I thoroughly enjoy this environment as a guitarist as well! It is much more detail oriented where you are asked to play in the style of that artist, note for note and feel for feel. I actually see myself much more like a Classical Musician shifting gears between the time periods really, like from the Classical Period to say the Baroque where the sensibility's of music were very different. It is quite a challenge!!

Question: What got you interested in being part of an impersonation act? Was there something prior to it that got you involved in impersonating?

Switch: That's an interesting question. I spent a lot of time in college working on classical guitar. I enjoyed it tremendously! But when I went to see my friends play, after a few pieces I would think, well this is rather boring isn't it? And this is coming from a person who understands the music.  I also grew up listing to all the great rock bands, and loved them as well. But again, a lot of times I was rather disappointed in the live shows............................ like there should be more than four guys looking at each other playing great music. When I moved down to LA I had a lot of studio work right off the bat, which suited me fine, but I also got involved in an organization called The Boogie Knights, which was a parody of Disco, which became very popular. It just seemed like a great marriage, where you have a style of music that is fun, and all the costumes along with the songs and it just came alive for me. And it was ENTERTAINING!!! Though that experience I learned how to not just be a musician, but in addition an entertainer and now it seems that both have to be present for me to feel whole.

Recall and describe your first time performing as David Bowie's platinum haired lead guitarist - where were you? How did people react?

Switch: My first gig was at a private venue called the Voodoo Lounge, with the best guitar store on the planet attached to it called Wild West Guitars. Any guitars players out there, do yourself a big favor and check this place out. Tell them Switch sent you...............!  So we had a back stage to get ready in as there is quite a lot of costuming...............especially for David - he does three to four costume changes during the duration of the show. This was the first time I was to see David all done up, as we never did a full costume rehearsal. We just worked hard on the music. When he first came out of the dressing room I was completely blown away. I could not believe it! I thought I was seeing David Bowie right in front of me. At that point all I could think about was................oh no, My Shoes suck!! But in all seriousness, I thought if I can be blown away in the dressing room by just his appearance, when people see and hear the whole package they are going to freak out and have a great time!! I was right.

Question: If you were to describe Space Oddity's performance to someone who had never seen a show, what would you tell them to expect?

Switch: I would tell them to get ready to be transported back in time to see one of the great rock and roll shows. The way this is done is really rock theater. It is a recreation of a great creative time in rock music. I would also tell them that you have to see it to believe it, because it is rather beyond description how cool it is! I would also tell them that they will probably be loading up their I PODS with Bowie tunes after the show as well. There are a lot of impersonators out there... but David's resemblance to Bowie is just crazy. And all the costumes are authentic from the 70s. In addition, many of the guitars and much of the gear are also from that time period, so it is just like going to see David Bowie in the 70s with The Spiders From Mars. Now that would be enough for me.............but David then goes into different costumes for different periods, all of which are done impeccably well. It really has to be seen to be believed.

Question: How did you become a part of Space Oddity? What about it appealed to you?

Switch: I became part of Space Oddity though a recommendation of a mutual friend that David and I share. I am very happy about that!! When I first heard about it, the thing that appealed to me was that I knew this type of thing is going to be very entertaining and fun to watch. It also appealed to me in that I could completely be a guitar ham and do the 70s rock star guitar hero thing! I also liked the challenge of learning all the Mick Ronson guitar parts and moves, as he was such an influence on so many guitars players.

Switch pictured with David Wronski as Jeff Beck on Jean Genie!photo by Chris Van Allen
Switch joined onstage by the world renowned David Wronski of Slacktone,
jamming on Jean Genie.

Question: Your role in Space Oddity demands being able to reproduce some of rock music's most emotionally charged guitar players' feel, licks and sounds - including Mick Ronson, Robert Fripp and Stevie Ray Vaughn. These are some very specific, if not super human requirements. Is doing what you do with Space Oddity more or less difficult than what you've done with other acts? Explain.

Switch: There is a certain paradigm you have to be in to approach a situation like this. Attention to detail and respect for the music is at the top of the list. This is really not a vehicle for self expression, but recreating the feels and sounds of that moment in time as closely as humanly possible. It takes a lot of listening and reviewing the music. Having David around helps too! He also is a fantastic guitarist and helped me a lot in understanding the music and where the players were coming from.

Question: The Tribute phenomenon is enthusiastically embraced by many, and completely dismissed by others. What were your thoughts on the trend before Space Oddity and now?

Switch: It is an interesting trend. I believe it exists because the music is still being heard on radio and a new generation of people are being exposed to it and have an interest in seeing it performed live. And coupled with that is the generation that grew up with the music and would also love to see the music performed today. The only problem is a lot of the bands are no longer touring or have completely changed how they would have performed the music back in the day. So there is a demand for it. Now with anything, there are things that work and things that don't. If someone was exited about seeing a tribute show and went to see one that was less than great, it may influence their feelings about the whole scene. But if it is done right, and (Space Oddity) is, it can really expose the new generation to something really great, and for the generation who did grow up on it, take you back in time.

Question: Would you say doing a tribute harder than it looks?

Switch: There are a lot of things going on to make up the whole. There is first the music. Then the right gear and tones. After that you need to get the costumes, hair and makeup right. Then you need to review old footage and start working on mannerisms and things. Then the constant tweaking and improving. So there are a lot of things superimposed on each other to make the whole. To me it is a lot of fun, but there is a little more work involved than most acts.

Question: Each of the Space Oddity band members have pretty interesting resumes. How do you get along with David and the rest of the band?

Switch: Everyone gets on really well! With the demands of being a musician, it seems the good ones tend to develop great sense of humor. A lot of these guys could be stand up comics if it weren't for their ability to play their instruments so well. So because of that, it always is fun and a blast to hang out with each other. We all need to get on as a group and when we are not busy rehearsing on one thing or another, we are busy trying to make each other laugh.

Question: With so many tribute acts these days, why do you think Space Oddity is so well known around the world?

Switch: When something is done well, news spreads.

Question: What do you think of the term "tribute act?" How do you feel about the term being attached to Space Oddity?

Switch: Well it is just a term. I feel fine about the term, although I see Space Oddity as being more like rock theater, as it is rather elaborate and very detailed. We do Bowie music with all the costuming and mannerisms.

Switch!

Question: What kind of people come to your shows?

Switch: I have just noticed very young attractive females.................................but that could be just what I am paying attention to...........!

Question: What other projects in addition to Space Oddity are you involved with?

Switch: At the moment I continue to play with Gene Loves Jezebel, and at times with a Neil Diamond tribute called Hot August Nights. I can't help myself.................love the Diamond!! I also have an original project called Clear that plays around LA from time to time. All these bands are on line so check them out! And I have quite a few students, as I love teaching. In my "spare time" I work at Schecter Guitar Research, researching things.

Question: What goals for the future do you have?

Switch: Just to continue to grow as a person and musician and keep rocking. I want to see the whole planet and turn as many people on to listening and playing music as I can. When I was about seventeen, I played at this music festival in Montreal. They had about 20 groups from all around the world participating, from Brazil to Russia, USA to Finland. Everyone celebrated each country's unique cultures. Probably about 20,000 people in all. I witnessed all these people from very different backgrounds sharing and getting along and having a great time! It was a very powerful thing to experience first hand. That (attitude) is really is my drive behind playing. To do my little part to bring some good vibes to the planet. I believe music can bring harmony and peace to the world - and I like the team I am on!! I also want to be the best Dad I can for my son Teigan, who also likes to rock.

(July 2007)


Calling Sister Midnight -
The world's #1 David Bowie revue's Lady From Another Grinning Soul...

Miss Brooke with David Brighton

An intimate, up close and personal chat with Space Oddity's glam/goth femme fatale...
the lovely and talented Brooke Naughton.

By Brooke Naughton's early teens, the award winning vocalist had already worked with some of the music industry's top professionals. "Brooke was a great singer by age thirteen or fourteen..." sites one industry insider. Brooke and her sister Char began singing and songwriting at an early age. With eclectic influences spanning  everything from Britpop to Bob Dylan, the Naughton girls formed the alternative pop/rock outfit - Rainy Day Stone in the mid 1990s. It didn't take long before some of Alanis Morrisette’s production team spotted the girls and signed them immediately. This led to Brooke singing on several records, including her own.  Today, the talented Miss Brooke continues to concentrate on her singing, playing, original material as well as writing screenplays. And of course, her feathers are definitely looking better and better as she brings her own brand of slinky feminine cool to the "Spiders From Mars"... performing with her favorite group of musicians, Space Oddity - David Brighton's Tribute To David Bowie.

Question: Lady Stardust or Twig The Wonder Kid? Or... will the real Brooke Naughton please stand up?  You started your recording career in a female acoustic alternative pop/rock duo. Today you’re tearing it up in concert halls across the globe as the feather boa / platform heel wearing, glitter chick from another planet. Which is the real Brooke, and how would you describe your transformation from sensitive acoustic female rocker to flamboyant Space Oddity keyboardist/back up vocalist?

Brooke: The real Brooke? Neither? Both? Is there a real me...? What is the real me? Who am I? (Laughs) When it comes to performing, I love taking it all on. I  like to mix it up. But I have to tell you, it hasn’t always been easy. At times I’ve had to fight the urge to vocalize my inner-chick sensitivity as it just doesn’t always mesh (i.e. the few times I’ve struggled to NOT sing the line “Where have all the cowboys gone” during “Where Have All the Good Times Gone”. (Laughs) But, you know, you take each day as it comes and hope in the end to produce something truly worthy of the Space Oddity show.

Question: After Rainy Day Stone called it quits, how did you become involved with Space Oddity?

Brooke: Despite being a songwriter, it was my love for singing/playing/performing that started my journey into the musical adventure that is the impersonating world. I joined the group after meeting Mr. Brighton to do some songwriting with him and my sister. We hit it off so well working on the original music, that when the opportunity presented itself for me to audition for the part of keyboardist / vocalist in his David Bowie act, I jumped at the chance. Since joining Space Oddity, I’ve never looked back. Every time I perform with Mr. Brighton, my love for his show keeps growing. I’m having so much fun! It’s the coolest thing getting paid to perform some of the best music ever written.

Question: How would you describe the show to any of our readers who haven't seen Space Oddity in concert yet?

Brooke: Expect to see a lot of spandex, make-up, and platform boots… and that’s just from the guys in the group! (Laughs) And...seriously...of course, be ready to experience what are considered by most to be among the finest moments in the history rock and roll!

Brooke (left) pictured with her sister Char with Rainy Day Stone
Rainy Day Stone -The 1990s female acoustic rock duo

Question:  David Bowie's music is graced with  some of the world's greatest keyboardists most inspired moments on record. Has it been difficult to replicate the keyboard work on tracks like Aladdin Sane, Time and Life On Mars?

Brooke: Definitely! The Bowie show is the most musically challenging act I’ve ever been a part of. I’m trying to capture the brilliance of Mike Garson and Rick Wakeman! 

Question: As popular as the "Tribute" trend is, people seem to either love or hate it. What are your thoughts on the trend, and has your opinion changed since working with Space Oddity?

Brooke: Before Space Oddity I just didn’t “get” the whole tribute thing… Of course, there are a lot of clam bakes in the field; but since joining Space Oddity, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to learn that a tribute act, when done as well as Mr. Brighton runs his show, can actually be quite an experience. Not only does David “deliver the goods”, but the entire band is dedicated to delivering as accurately a sound as possible. I haven’t had as much fun on any project I’ve worked on as I’ve had performing with Space Oddity.

Question: Let's talk about the band. Rock bands have traditionally been plagued with personality conflicts, power struggles and battling egos among band members. What are the inner workings of Space Oddity like in that area?

Brooke: I am actually quite happy to say that this is the most professional, fun, and down-to-earth group of people I’ve ever worked with (aside from that one time I ran a one-woman show!!!)

Question: In a field where most bands are generally unknown outside of a hundred mile radius, how is it that Space Oddity is known and respected worldwide?

Brooke: David does the best Bowie. Full stop. And the fact that he was hand picked by Bowie himself to be in Bowie's Vittel commercial generated a lot of attention. He was also cast to play Ziggy Stardust the Watchmen movie that's coming out in 2009. He's the best in the business. He's  wonderful...awesome to work with. Plus, he's put together one of the best groups of musicians ever. I mean seriously... the Space Oddity band ROCKS!!!!

Question: What kind of people come to see Space Oddity?

Brooke: The best kind.

Question: Are you currently working on any other musical projects in addition to Space Oddity?

Brooke: I could share that information, but then I’d have to…you know…

Question: What other career goals are on your horizon?

Brooke: Working with David was my goal in life… So, check that off my list. Other than that...I'm getting ready to record my new solo album.

(Mac Interview - November, 2007)


 

From Stray Cat to Space Oddity -
Meet axeman extraordinaire, Howie Anderson


The incredible Howie Anderson sharing the vocal with David Brighton at BB Kings!
Howie Anderson shares the vocal with David Brighton...

In a field known for its egocentric prima donnas, Howie Anderson is one of those rare virtuosos who comes off more like Clark Kent than the stereotypical self absorbed guitar hero. Among the busiest axe-men in the music business, this decidedly down to Earth lead player has worked with everyone from 60's icons Spencer Davis and the Strawberry Alarm Clock, to the king of swing himself,  Stray Cat - Brian Setzer.  Anderson was gracious enough to take a few moments out from his breakneck schedule to talk with us about his current passion; Space Oddity - the world's #1 tribute to David Bowie.

Question: The Space Oddity band members are all professional musicians who tour (or have toured) with major acts like Eddie Money, Alice Cooper, Five For Fighting, Brian Setzer and Shakira.  How did you hook up with Space Oddity and what attracted you to it?

Howie:  I first heard about Space Oddity because a friend of mine was playing with them. I told him to pass the word that I was very interested in playing guitar for the band.

Question: How does playing with Space Oddity differ from playing with the name acts you’ve worked with?

Howie: Space Oddity is different because it's a little more theater as far as performing goes.

Question: Is doing what you do with Space Oddity more or less difficult than what you do with a name act? Explain.

Howie: It can be more difficult because you trying to recreate the recorded experience. The name act can do what ever they feel; they can perform the songs just like the record, or do something different.

Question: Were you a Bowie fan to begin with, or did working with Space Oddity make you one? Explain.

 Howie: I have always been a Bowie fan since I saw his last tour as Ziggy Stardust (in 1973). This performance would change my musical life forever. Mick Ronson became the ultimate Guitar Hero, and would influence my guitar playing forever!


 
The late Mick Ronson

Question: How did or do you prepare for your role with Space Oddity? Explain the process.

Howie:  I don't want to come off like a self indulgent guitar player, so I'll just say that it takes a lot of practice... keeping a lot of parts in your head.

Question: Do you view yourself as a player or as an impersonator with the act?

Howie: I see myself as a player but I'm paying tribute to some of my favorite guitarists, performing songs by such a brilliant artist as Bowie.

Question: What is your opinion of the whole Tribute phenomenon?

Howie: I used to think the Tribute thing was silly and lame. I now view the Tribute phenomenon very differently; I see all these bands performing with so much love and passion. This is great for an audience that can't afford to see the "Real Acts." Some of them are no longer in existence, and some of them can't perform like they used to. Both the performers and audience share a mutual love for the music.

Question: Why do you think the public is fascinated by impersonator acts?

Howie: I think it’s a little like the Theater, they just want to see and hear a good show.

Question:  Are you interested in any other tribute acts besides Space Oddity?

Howie: It might be interesting to see a Moody Blues or an  Emerson Lake and Palmer tribute.

Question: What do you think sets Space Oddity apart from other tribute acts and why?

Howie: Space Oddity has incredible musicians and David Brighton does a brilliant Bowie.... and doing Bowie is a tall order!

Question: What do you think separates a good tribute act or celebrity impersonator from a better or even a great one?

Sharing a vocal... Howie Anderson and David Brighton at BB Kings!

Howie: How much a performer gives of him or herself to the performance. It’s all about passion and a lot of homework. Oh, and you have to have great band!

Question: What do you think of the people who come to your shows?

Howie: The people are great and many are very young, The age group is all over the map both old and young. Did I say old?

Question: Do you have any stalker fans?

Howie: No stalker fans as yet, but I'm working on it!

Question: Are you currently involved with any other acts or musical projects in addition to Space Oddity that you would you like people to know about?

Howie: I’m doing music all the time, you might catch me anywhere.

Howie Anderson tears it up on Moonage Daydream...

Question: What other career aspirations do you have?

Howie: I want to record and market some of my own material and collaborate with many of my friends. There is so much talent here in Southern Cal.

Question: What about personal aspirations?

Howie: I like to move in unexpected territory, keep moving forward.

Question: Anything you want to include that wasn't mentioned?

Howie: I really enjoy playing with the Space Oddity Band (they are awesome). I also see this as a personal opportunity to pay tribute to one of the greatest and most underrated rock guitarists of all time. The late great Mick Ronson who taught us to play simply and with as much soul and passion as one can possibly muster.

Mac Interview -  October, 2004


Wild Side Magazine's Interview with Tuesday Knight
                            of SPACE ODDITY

The incomparable Tuesday Knight!
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing actress/singer/musician - Tuesday Knight, the striking blonde haired girl wonder who handles background vocals and keyboards with Space Oddity, the world's leading tribute to David Bowie. The indelibly charismatic Tuesday has appeared in films with such luminaries as Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Drew Barrymore, Kevin Bacon and Alicia Silverstone. Also being a successful singer and songwriter, Tuesday left a recording contract with CBS a few years back to concentrate on her acting.

Question:
Which is your biggest passion - acting or music?

Tuesday: I think that music and acting are equally my passions. When I do whatever one I choose, it is always 100 percent.

Question: VH-1 Television is doing a feature on you that will be aired soon. What can you tell us about it, and when will we be able to see it?

Tuesday: I think that the VH-1 thing will air in May. (Editor's note: the show first aired May 27th, 2003) It should be fun. I really liked that they came to see Toe Brights and check it out! That was cool. (Editor's note: Tuesday is one of the owners of a popular jewelry line called Toe Brights... click here ToeBrights.com to check out their website)
I also was so thrilled that they came and shot this band. I want the world to see how stunningly beautiful and talented David Brighton is. I love him. He is my biggest fantasy. Also they did talk about my acting stuff and that was pretty groovy too.

Question: What is it like working with some of the biggest names in the business? Are you tight with people like Drew Barrymore or Robert De Niro?

Tuesday: I have some friends that are quite popular. Do I stay in touch? In Hollywood? Geez, I guess as much as you can with really famous people. Yes, I am friends with Drew and Bob and lots of others but hey, the list is too long!

Actress - Tuesday Knight!

Question: What has your favorite acting role been to date? And what was the most demanding?

Tuesday: My most demanding role was Theory of the Leisure Class because I played a part that was nothing like me. I guess that isn't true, but it was an extremely hard role and certainly the most challenging. It was released on video last Tuesday.    
     My fave role? I can't really pick one. I would have to say that Mistress with Bob DeNiro was one and 2000 Malibu Road  was amazing. That was probably my very fave because I got to play a completely different girl! and Theory of the Leisure Class... It was my idea and we put this all together and it came out so good. I am very proud of it. I loved this role too because I got the chance to play something really different than most of my sexy kitten roles! Geez...Thank God...really.

Question: Is there a web site people can visit that focuses on your acting career?

Tuesday: Yes ... a new site for me is http://www.geocities.com/tuesdayknightonline/main.html
This wonderful fan has done quite a job! It is in the process now but it is up and running!

Question: How did you become a part of Space Oddity, the Bowie tribute act?

Tuesday: I became a part of Space Oddity because I made it my destiny!! I went to see them perform at the House of Blues with my friend Steve Landes, who is also great friends with David, and I saw David up there and went insane! First off, he is so f'...n beautiful. And then he came out in that Thin White Duke outfit and just killed me! I said to Steve "I will be in that band, I want to sing with him!!!!!!!!!!!" (Editor's note: Steve portrays John Lennon in RAIN, one of the world's best known Beatles Tribute acts)

Question:  How does a group of musicians prepare to do an act like Space Oddity? It must be an enormous amount of work to flawlessly recreate every note and every mannerism live on stage.

Tuesday: It is a lot of work!!! We really study the CDs and the videos. David wants everything to be perfect...

Live at the House Of Blues!

Question:  The Space Oddity band members exhibit a genuine sense of camaraderie on stage. First, there's David and "Mick's" "Let's give it to 'em"  Jagger and Richards type dynamic as Bowie and Ronson. You are another key personality... particularly during your duets with David. The electricity between the two of you when you're trading vocal lines on songs like Knock On Wood is incredible. How would you describe the chemistry you two have?

Tuesday: It's like the sex you never had! Here in front of me is this gorgeous man, I mean please... we sing... we throttle... we crawl... it is really cool. There is just a total magic between us and for those moments when I'm with him on stage singing together he is MINE ALL MINE!

Tuesday and David

Question: You do look very comfortable with each other up there. How long have you known each other?

Tuesday:  It turns out that I have known Davey for about a hundred years! Actually I met him years and years ago when he played with Quiet Riot, we weren't close then, but now WE ARE!!!!!! So we met again all these years later after seeing the show at the House Of Blues. I am so blessed to have him in my life.
David Brighton and Kevin Dubrow on stage
David Brighton and Kevin Dubrow of Quiet Riot

Question: What is your relationship?…. Are you good friends?

Tuesday: We love each other, we are each other's everything. That is the only way to explain it!  As I said I have known him for years, but only in the last two or three years we have really become close. We are such great friends. Love, Love, Love!

Question: People no doubt ask you and the other members of Space Oddity if you write and record your own material.

Tuesday: We do that very well. Everybody is very talented.

Question: What are you currently up to in the realm of songwriting?

Tuesday: Not much.. I will let you know!

Tuesday on stage!
Photo by Jim Owen

Question: Are there any plans for the Space Oddity band to do original material together?

Tuesday: I am not sure about that. That would be the master's call.

Question: What is your favorite aspect of being a part of Space Oddity?

Tuesday: Looking at David Brighton! No, I mean YES... but aaaaaalso I love the music, I love David Bowie, and I love to sing whenever I have the chance! Also I love being in a band where I am not the front guy!!

Question: The Bowie act is a very theatrical/musical experience. It requires a high level of musicianship and a considerable amount of stagecraft on the parts of all of the players. Besides your musical duties, how do you view your role in the act?

Tuesday: I think that it is all about what I am doing to support the act. I think as long as I'm in the right era, I'll do ok!

Actress/singer/songwriter - Tuesday Knight

Question: How much do you draw from your acting background in terms of what you bring to the table for the show? What kind of performance skills do you think are necessary to be a part of an act like this?

Tuesday: I think that you have to be somewhat of an actor to pull any of this off. It is a show with acting. It just all comes naturally to me. I don't even think about it.

Question: Was it difficult for David to find people such as yourself and the other band members, who are not only very proficient musically but understand how to handle themselves on stage as well?

Tuesday: I think that it is always difficult to find good players, no matter what your trip is. Everybody is out for the dollar. And finding a musician who can perform well and play well is rare. I think those who do excel in both areas are exceptional. I think that people know right away with David that they are getting the real thing (No pun intended). He is exceptionally talented. He has done so many projects...he is well seasoned for sure. I think that players would only be lacking in their horizons if they didn't work with David.

Question: What do you think of the whole tribute band phenomenon? Some people love it, some hate it.

Tuesday: I have to admit that I do like tribute bands when they are done perfectly!

Question: If you weren't involved with Space Oddity, would your opinion be different?

Tuesday: If I wasn't involved with Space Oddity, I would get involved!!!

Question: have you encountered any kind of backlash?

Tuesday: No. No backlash that I know of! And if there is any I hope I don't hear it.

Question: Are you single?

Tuesday: Yes I am single at this time...  But let's not go there!

Closing thoughts: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you the best in all of your endeavors.

Tuesday: You're welcome!

(Taken from Wild Side Magazine May 2003)



The Incomparable Mike Garson!
More Interviews!
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