“When he recorded Blackstar, when he knew that his time could be limited, it didn’t stop his sense of humour in any way”: Tony Visconti recalls David Bowie’s final years

“His antennae were always up,” says the producer.

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Tony Visconti and David Bowie

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Tony Visconti has shared his final memories of David Bowie, noting how the late popstar’s humour had remained intact despite turning into a “deep thinker” in his later years.

Speaking to MOJO magazine, the producer describes Bowie as an “eager young guy, very enthusiastic” when they first met.

“He’d hardly met an American, so he was all over me,” Visconti recalls. “Once we started talking, we found out that we liked the same things. Before we had any success, for about two or three years we were just friends. We furthered our friendship by living under the same roof. We’d always have visitors over, Haddon Hall was practically an open house.”

“I remember once we had some guy with an amazing quiff there and David was staring at him intensely all through this visit. And as soon as he left, David ran to the bathroom and combed his hair into that quiff. He was always open to any kind of influence,” says Visconti, who’s worked with Bowie on-and-off across six decades. “His antennae were always up.”

He continues: “Then in later years, wealth and fame introduced him to a whole circle of people who were out of my realm: very famous actors, gazillionaires and all that. He moved in the art world. He could speak eloquently on any subject and fit in anywhere. If [he was with] a bunch of Londoners he would go back to speaking like he came from Bromley.”

“There was a lot of gravity about him in his final years, he was a deep thinker. But when he recorded Blackstar, when he knew that his time could be limited, it didn’t stop his sense of humour in any way. He was still very open and friendly. He told everyone, ‘I can’t come to the studio every day for medical reasons.’

“But he was still happy as anything to be in the studio.”

Bowie passed away due to liver cancer in 2016, just two days after both his 69th birthday and the release of his final album, Blackstar.


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