He Said She Said with Mick Harvey from Bowie In Berlin
Bowie In Berlin will tour Australia in January. Just how much material will the show cover?
The plan is to cover as much of the so-called ‘Trilogy’ as we can. A couple of the instrumental tracks may pose difficulties, issues like finding a virtuoso koto player. Also, playing all the songs will probably make the show too long, especially if we want to include any Iggy Pop, which, for some, is as significant to Bowie in Berlin as his own albums.
What made Bowie’s Berlin period so important to his career and discography?
Obviously it coincided with a big change in his writing and his personal life. It is generally understood he moved there to rediscover his motivation and get away from drugs and the ‘entertainment biz’. Once there his writing became more experimental and a big departure from his earlier glam, pop-rock and the more recent plastic soul period. It was very European in feel.
He wasn’t the first artist to draw great influence from Berlin. Does the city have a pull on creative types?
I’m not sure Berlin influences people. In Bowie’s case maybe it did – when the Wall was there a certain atmosphere pervaded the place which was affecting, but for the most part I think people go there to find their own path. It’s a place which can give you a sense of artistic freedom.
How will the songs be divided up between different vocalists?
Fairly evenly between our performers Kylie Auldist, Dave Graney, Ron Peno, Kim Salmon and Max Sharam.
How much of an influence did Bowie have on your career personally? In the mid-’70s he was probably the single biggest artist for me. Over time other bands and artists came to have a more profound influence. The Berlin period was, however, particularly significant as it coincided with the beginning of the punk/new wave era and showed that Bowie was not a creepy, corporate, shallow pop star. We could hold on to him and his work whilst clearing out the rest of our record collections in the wake of punk. Bowie was real, maybe for the first time, and the Berlin period kept him dear to us.