Carlos Alomar’s Golden Years with David Bowie (Interview)

I saw Carlos Alomar play with Iggy Pop in a couple of different venues. Always so cool and conscious of the impact he made on stage with his instrument. This is a great read.

Station To Station and the Berlin Trilogy

When we went to California to do Station to Station, and we did the other albums later, the Brian Eno stuff and even beyond that, as musicians we had to listen. We were making tracks before we knew what David’s lyrics or melodies were. But there’s music in the holes. I got that from James Brown, when I was playing guitar for him. He was like, ‘Son, calm down. Why are you playing so much stuff?’ And really, when you’re playing with three guitar players, it’s easy to calm down. They’ve got it covered. Less is more.And David liked to put things together like a jigsaw puzzle, so we couldn’t put too many notes in there. That’s why I asked him, ‘Please, no keyboard players. Keyboard players have two hands, and they’re constantly playing full chords, two or three inversions. It doesn’t leave anything to the imagination.’ So when I played with David, instead of playing one guitar that’s got five fabulous things in it, I’d play one guitar that played only one part of it. Then later I’d play the other part, so one was on the left side and one was on the right side. Then, if he wanted, I’d do another one on the upper right side, and then the upper left, so that all together in the stereo placement it might be four or five guitar parts.It ends up so awesomely cool that you’re going, ‘Dude, that is awesome and cool!’ That’s the way we kind of worked together. Less is more in the case of trying to construct songs. Otherwise you get so heavy-handed that you can’t do arrangements like there were on Station to Station. You can’t do these songs like Wild Is the Wind or Word On A Wing. Those are somewhat classic songs for a guy like David to tackle, but he wanted to do them with a skeleton crew of musicians, so it wouldn’t be too heavy-handed. So the parts were really developed, but who shines? David. With such simple arrangements, David’s got to carry that. And he did.

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