WOODY WOODMANSEY, the last Spider From Mars, has released an exciting new memoir about his time with David Bowie, 43 years after the band split.
Mick Woodmansey joined Bowie, and guitarist Mick Ronson, as their drummer in 1970. Although The Spiders were only together for a mere three years, they produced some of the Starman’s most acclaimed pieces of work; seeing his transformation from The Man Who Sold The World, to Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane.
The book, My Life With Bowie, speaks of Woody’s otherworldly experiences with the band, allowing fans into an explosive world of sex, drugs and glam rock and roll.
Woody, now 65, said: “I had been asked numerous times over the years if I would be interested in writing my autobiography and I always declined the offers.
“The main reason being I assumed Bowie himself would at some point tell the whole ‘Ziggy story’ so it wasn’t something for me to do”.
His viewpoint changed in 2013 where a glut of Bowie books that purportedly covered the ‘Ziggy’ period, were on the market or due to be published.
“They were written by fans or individuals who had gathered second hand information, and pseudo-intellectual journalists who had what can only be described as a ‘mystical insight’ in to what actually occurred, even a supposed knowledge of Bowie’s psyche.
“I had read snippets from various books and I personally felt these fitted in the ‘Myths and Legends’ section. So as Bowie himself still hadn’t taken up the pen, I felt I had a duty to”.
Within My Life With Bowie, Woody claims that one of his most proudest musical achievements was when he first heard Life On Mars – a profound moment for the entire band. However, even though this was released on Hunky Dory, The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust is Woody’s pride and joy.
“David was on a roll by this point and every song he wrote was of a similar quality, plus we had done enough playing as a unit to be all on the same page…so to speak!
“The best memories though, are being part of the live concerts, doing something you’ve only dreamt of as a teenager, watching thousands of fans enjoying the show.
“It’s what it’s all about”.
Tony Visconti worked closely with Bowie and The Spiders From Mars as their producer. He wrote the foreword for the book and in it explained that in 2014, Woody approached him to see if he wanted to play The Man Who Sold the World live in concert. Although apprehensive, Visconti agreed and formed a ‘tribute’ band with Woody named Holy Holy.
The pair, alongside an all – star band, reignited the album and took it on a UK tour.
Because of its success, Holy Holy are going on another adventure next year as they take The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust around England – stopping off at Woody’s hometown Hull.
“To be finally playing the City Hall in Hull and performing ‘Ziggy’ is amazing. We had never done the complete album, even with Bowie, so it appealed to us. Also Bowie and the Spiders never played in Hull,” he said.
“We had tried to fit it in on every tour of the UK we did, but the timing and scheduling never quite worked out, the nearest we got was playing Bridlington Spa, which was a great night!”
Holy Holy will also be playing at Manchester’s The Bridgewater Hall for a one off gig on March 28.
“Manchester was always a ‘Ziggy’ city too, we had fantastic nights there and fantastic audiences”.
Woody heard about Bowie’s death earlier this year whilst he was on tour with Holy Holy.
“We on our East US tour and our second gig was at The Highline Club in New York – Coincidentally it was also Bowie’s birthday.
“Tony Visconti phoned him from stage during the show and he answered. We had a brief conversation and we got the audience to sing Happy Birthday to him via the phone. He said thanks and wished us well on the tour.
“Two days later we arrived in Toronto and were woken with the news at 5am. It was surreal to say the least and it was a sad day as it was for millions of fans worldwide. It took some time to actually grasp the reality of it. However, I have fond memories so that helps”.
David Bowie aside, Woody explains what the real David Jones was like as a friend and colleague from his own viewpoint, in his book.
“As an artist he was unique. He wanted to shake things up and make life more exciting, more interesting for audiences and himself and he managed to do that continually throughout his career.
“His legacy is the music, the films, in fact all the various mediums he employed to create effects that were true for him”.
To find out more about Holy Holy and their tour next year visit their website: http://www.holyholy.co.uk/
You can also purchase Woody Woodmansey’s book My Life With Bowie: Spider From Mars here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spider-Mars-My-Life-Bowie/dp/0283072725/