I'm not sure if this is the right time to admit it, but I was never a big Bowie fan. The older I get the more I appreciate what he brought to pop music and pop culture and the culture at large (much, much more than I have the wherewithal to ascertain). But when it comes to a guy like Bowie the beholder has to be hooked young, or he (or she -- or what-have-you) never really gets the bug.
Four years ago, for example, I could say I appreciated and even admired Lady Gaga (Bowie's most assured progeny, at the time). But when my 14-year-old daughter said the same thing, it meant something on a very different scale. She got Gaga.
Bowie was never that for me. I could appreciate the freakiness -- thanks to him, and a heap of others, my generation pretty much accepted freakiness as our birthright. But I never bought anything by Bowie. I was happy enough to hear him on the radio -- I never switched the station when he came on, but I never put down the money, either. He was too poppy, too focused on casting a broad, popular spell. I needed crunch, dammit -- something with a little more dissonance.
Then in 1989 he formed the distinctly metallic Tin Machine.
They faced some stiff competition -- Lou Reed and Jane's Addiction, for starters. Nevertheless I put down the money and took home my first David Bowie project. I was 24.
It hasn't aged well (and this isn't the most durable song on the album) but I still appreciate Bowie's game face. And any opportunity to bring Reeves Gabrels' guitar to the fore is always welcome.
RIP, Jones. And thank you for the indefatigable, lifelong performance -- "a supple text that can be endlessly reinterpreted."