Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout

Jan 23, 2008 at 12:00 am

I'm going home to Jeffrey Morgan's Media Blackout #155!

It sure didn't last long, but for a few choice golden years, beginning in 1989, David Bowie got enough gumption to take off his glasses, stop acting so sincere, and finally put his metal where his mouth was. Before that, Hallo Fanboy had spent 20 years rabidly extolling the virtues of his favorite band (the Velvet Underground) and his favorite singer (Iggy Pop) while contradictorily pumping out a ream of records that, more often than not, reeked of mealy-mush music.

Mick Ronson may have added a certain degree of much needed puckish Jeff Beck-ish white noise to albums like The Man Who Sold The World and Aladdin Sane, but there's no denying that huge swatches of Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust were strictly swish city slush, which would eventually lead to entire albums of soporific snoozak sludge like Let's Dance and Tonight.

Having barely survived those profitable but soul-shriveling sell-outs, Bowie began to atone for the sins of his bucolic back catalog with Never Let Me Down's sole tub-thumper, the still-sturdy "Day-In, Day-Out." It was a good start but it was too slow a start. So Bowie ramped up his raw rebellion by forming not just a new band but the best band of his career; one comprised of rock's greatest living rhythm section—the brother act of Tony Sales on bass and Hunt Sales on drums—and rock's most holocaustic guitarist, the steadily unstable Reeves Gabrels.

Actually, it wasn't a band so much as it was a defiant statement of self-liberation whose sonic-shredding philosophy was deafeningly simple; it was almost as if they'd repeatedly listened to a loop of Ronno's first eight abrasive seconds of "Cracked Actor" and then decided to create music which would sound just like that—only a lot more strident.

The end came one day when Tony Sales arrived home to find the light blinking on his answering machine. "Tony, this is David," the message began. "I'm afraid there isn't going to be a Tin Machine anymore." The speaker paused to compose himself before continuing. "Nobody wants Tin Machine, Tony!"

Don't kick cans along the street!

Jeffrey Morgan is a freelance writer for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]