Apr 062007

OK. It’s a salacious headline and the fact is I like a lot of Bowie. Mrs. Maudlin is a huge fan, and over the years I’ve really come to appreciate his music. I share his influences, I dig his theater, I love his collaborators…

What bugs me about Bowie is his, perhaps unconscious, need for balls. [CLARIFICATION] His need for balls. Not his lack of balls. I’ve got no beef with his lack of balls.

Exhibit A. He got his nom de rock from another effeminate man who’s need for man-junk led him to carry around his own ten and one-half inches long and two inches wide knife.

Although I’ve never read anything about Jim Bowie using his blade to castrate anyone, I have my suspicions.

Bowie’s idols, largely had large balls: Them, Yardbirds, The Who, The Stooges… Even Marc Bolan, could rock hard and certainly packed some big clackers.

He made some good moves early on to fulfill his need for cullions. He purchased a pair. This is Mick Ronson’s band before he joined Bowie.

A zoom in on Ronson reveals an impressive set of swinging steak and bull fries.

Then David Bowie, unable to contain his jealously, attempts to chomp it off.

And we’re left with this.

Which is actually more than fine. Bowie did his cool-thing, and Ronson brought stones. As a listener, I don’t think Bowie really needed stones of his own but if he had to compensate, Ronson was a great way to go.

But this wasn’t enough for a lad insane (over his lack of balls). Realizing that Ronson’s marbles were always going to be hanging off Ronson, Bowie apparently made the decision to castrate his idols.

Reed before Bowie. Leather clad NY street tough:

After Bowie:

The glam look was cool and totally worked for Bowie, Roxy Music, T-Rex… But there are some folks for whom it just didn’t: Lou.

Look aside, worse yet was when Bowie took his blade to the music. The only saving grace on Transformer is the presence of Ronson’s jock strap. If Bowie hadn’t brought along his set of Ronson Rocks, Transformer could have been as cockless as Raw Power.

Raw “Power”? Well, this has been debated to death but I think we could all agree that if the previous Stooges albums had 20 lb prairie oysters, then Raw Power had only a clam shell.

I’m running out of metaphors for testicles so I’ll wrap this up with the YouTube video that brought this all to the fore of my mind. The only song on Lust For Life credited soley to Pop is “Sixteen”. Here it is as produced by the Thin White Castrator:


And here it is, as I’ve never heard it before, with a package the size of Detroit.

Check out the beefy Steppenwolf-esque bass maneuvers, and the fucking drummer is smoking a cigar!

Bowie has long since dropped trou and proudly displayed his Barbie-doll-smooth crotch to the world. And both he and the world are better for it. I just wish he’d kept his Bowie Knife well enough away from his idols.


  10 Responses to “Bowie & Balls: If He Can’t Have Them, No One Can”

  1. Love this write-up Sammy!

  2. general slocum

    Excellent observations! Bowie is in the lamentable position of being 30% more Kentonite than he ought, while having an astute undertsanding of the value of a freer, passion-driven sensibility, as in Iggy, or an at least ballsier and direct sensibility, as in Marc Bolan, Lou Reed, Mick Ronson, &c. But if he aesthetically castrated any of these, he also lent at least half a cojone to people like Fripp, Eno, Wakeman, and others far less ballsy. His whole Japanese mime kabuki side is a good way to see an entire aesthetic of which he would be a garbonzo gande representative. I don’t know whether he really had an affair with Anthony Newly or not (an apt and worthy piece of apocrypha either way), but he gets cred for piloting a course that got so many people otherwise balls-prejudicial into music of a very refined and relatively sophisticated nature. I know Diamond Dogs baffled the bejesus out of me and my 12 year-old friends, but we sure did listen! (In between Fandango, Machine Head, Sabbath, what have you.)

  3. Mr. Moderator

    That Iggy video is great. Probably the most Stooges-like performance I’ve seen/heard by him post-Funhouse. What kind of axes are they wielding in that video? Very 1978!

    As funny and accurate, in one perspective, as this piece is, I think you hit on Bowie’s everlasting importance to rock – his upending the gender-role/sexuality issues lurking in the shadows of rock once and for all. Any time I listen to his old stuff, from when I was a kid, I remember all the key lines in songs where I felt like I needed to quickly turn down the volume so my Mom wouldn’t catch me hearing stuff that only made half-sense to me, in many cases, as a 12 year old. Coupled with the fact that I can rarely understand what the hell Bowie’s singing. For example, I was listening to “Ziggy Stardust” the other day and recalled that for years – until I was in college and acquainted with Freudian terminology, I was especially disturbed/dazzled by the couplet that begins “Making love to his eagle…” WTF????

  4. hrrundivbakshi

    Wowsers — that’s one hell of a Pop clip! To answer Mr. Mod’s question: the bassist and guitarist are playing very early BC Rich axes — the bassist a “mockingbird,” and the guitarist something that I’m not nerdy enough to figure out. But they’re both Riches.

  5. Mr. Moderator

    Thanks, Hrundi. I was thinking it was that brand with the metal necks. Remember those monstrosities?

  6. BigSteve

    Kramer, I believe.

  7. great video clip and balls-out write-up Sammy;) that had to hurt jumping/sitting on the kit like that. buttocks of steel, most likely iggy didn’t even notice.

  8. saturnismine

    Weren’t the guitars with the metal necks called Travis Beans?

  9. Mr. Moderator

    Yes, Kramer is what I had in mind. Travis Beans may have used metal necks too. Thanks.

  10. hrrundivbakshi

    Travis Beans had all-aluminum necks, 70s Kramers were aluminum with slabs of wood affixed to the back for a more natural “feeeeeel.”

Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube