Off the Record is a new in-depth music biography series that profiles the extraordinary life of an iconic artist over the course of each season. Music journalist Jordan Runtagh (People, Rolling Stone, EW and VH1) offers a revelatory look at the human behind the hits through rich, dramatic storytelling, extensive research, and interviews with those who knew them best. You know the songs, now meet the legends.
Epilogue: Lazarus (2013-2016)
Our final episode on the life (or lives) of David Bowie begins and ends with a birthday. We start in 2013, when David reentered public life nearly a decade after his heart attack with the surprise release of “Where Are We Now," his first new song in a decade. The story concludes with 'Blackstar,’ an album that many believe was his parting gift as he faced down the illness that would claim his body two days after its release on David’s 69th birthday.
Bonus Episode: Bowie's Guitarist Carlos Alomar on Recording 'Young Americans' and the Berlin Trilogy, Co-Writing 'Fame' and Funking Up David's Music for 30 Years
Today we present a conversation with funk guitar icon Carlos Alomar. One of David’s most crucial musical collaborators, Carlos played on 11 of David’s albums, including classics like 'Young Americans,' ’Station to Station,’ the Berlin Trilogy, and ‘Scary Monster (and Super Creeps).' — and he also co-wrote his first American number one, "Fame."
Bonus Episode: Bassist Gail Ann Dorsey Reflects on Her Decade-Long Music Journey with David Bowie
Our latest chapter covered David Bowie’s creative renaissance in the ‘90s and early 2000s. The records that he made in this period are often overlooked but rank among the most experimental of his career, as he rejoined formative ‘70s collaborators like Brian Eno and Tony Visconti to create some of the most daring music he ever made. But one crucial collaborator during this period was new to Bowie’s circle — bassist Gail Ann Dorsey.
Chapter Twelve: Heathen (1987-2004)
Today we’re looking at Bowie the Rock ‘n’ Roll Elder Statesman. Throughout the ‘90s, he continued to change and challenge, inspiring new generations with his work. Far be it from David to go gently into middle age.
'LABYRINTH' WEEK: Muppet Icon Steve Whitmire Recalls His Time on Set with Bowie, and His 26 Years as Kermit the Frog
Today’s ‘Labyrinth’ Week guest is puppeteer Steve Whitmire, who performed several characters in this beloved film — including one of the fiery figures in the “Chilly Down” dance sequence, and (my favorite) Ambrosius, the trusty dog of Sir Didymus.
'LABYRINTH' WEEK: Conceptual Designer Brian Froud on Creating the World of Goblin City — and Jareth's Notorious Pants
This week on 'Off the Record,' we're playing special tribute to Jim Henson's 1986 film 'Labyrinth,' the beloved cult classic that introduced David Bowie to generations of kids. We're kicking off the festivities with conceptual designer Brian Froud, the man who imagined world of 'Labyrinth.'
Very well done and a good companion to listening to Bowie’s catalogue. The interviews are great and really rounded the whole thing out for me.
The writing is cliche and the host sounds as if he’s reading a Wikipedia entry on Bowie - probably is.
Historically accurate, but with imperfect details
I’m enjoying Off The Record: David Bowie so far, and it does a good and accurate job of capturing the chronology of events in Bowie’s biography (as have been conveyed in other Bowie texts and sources).
Though it would have been good if audio recordings of interviews of some of the principals quoted (Eg. Tony Visconti, Iggy Pop, Bowie himself) could have been used instead of being read out by the narrator. Maybe this is a copyright issue - which no doubt is the reason why Bowie’s actual music isn’t played here either.
An annoying detail in the ‘Thin White Duke’ episode: the lack of an attempt at German pronunciation on phrases related to Bowie’s time in Berlin, like “die brücke” or “kosmiche musik”. Just typing and playing words in Google Translate would have given this podcast’s creators the necessary guidance, and would add some authenticity to the proceedings.