Say what you want about Facebook, but lately it's been bringing together dozens of Milwaukee rock and roll scenesters in a group called "Lest We Forget – Deceased Milwaukee Scene."
Mike L. Podolak – he of Sacred Order – started the group as a place to remember fallen scenesters, but in a brief spurt – nay tornado – of activity, the group has become a place for old friends to remember the Milwaukee scene – especially from the late '70s and early '80s – and to reconnect, as well as memorialize lost friends.
Now the group has grown to hundreds-strong (651 at last count) and there's all sorts of amazing stuff being posted, including the photo of David Bowie above. It was taken at Milwaukee's Star Studio on 37th and National Avenue.
Dean Halonen, who posted the photo, worked at the studio, from when it opened in summer 1974. He left Bay View High to take the job and never went back.
His caption for the photo reads: "David Bowie at Star Studio on 37th and National circa 1974, recording overdubs for the film of the last concert with The Spiders from Mars. This studio is now the Exchange. With Mike Garson, Robert Sage, David Bowie and Sam Halonen.
"It had to be 7 or 8 in the morning," Halonen posted. "We'd been there three nights out of four and this was the last of it, after 16 hours. Bob in the back there is asleep standing up.
"The worst moment of the sessions was when we recorded Earl Slick playing a riff over Jeff Beck's original track! Beck, having been a hero of ours forever, Bowie didn't like the riff so he had Earl play over it. You can tell in the video, too."
One commenter suggested that Bowie recorded the original version of "Young Americans" at Star, but Halonen says no.
"I'll dispute it story about 'Young Americans' tracks being recorded at Star. At no point was there ever more than one track being recorded simultaneously. We recorded absolutely no drums whatsoever. Everything committed was to existing tracks.
"It wasn't done at Star, I'm sorry to say. There was never any new material committed to tracks then. Like I said, Main Man had been pushing Bowie to get the overdubs for his last concert as the Spiders for a television special that everyone has seen by now! No new material, never anything (recorded) but one person doing a single overdub at one time."
Halonen goes on to tell more of the story:
"He was touring and ignoring the demands of his production company. They were running out of time for the television presentation of the show and would use the tape recordings as they were if he didn't get the overdubs done. We were selected merely because his tour schedule allowed a few days in town during a concert date and we were the newest and best equipped shop in town, at the time.
"Bowie requested a Martin 12-string acoustic the day before he showed up. We didn't have one and couldn't get one from the normal channels, so we had Paul Greene from ZMF, I think, run a quick spot requesting anybody with that guitar to call him. He screened several callers, never telling anyone the what for. We rented one from some guy for a couple hundred dollars – a tidy sum at the time – for four days! When he came by to pick it up we told him what it was used for, which was only the 'Space Oddity' track.
"We ran to George Webb's on the corner of 39th. I think it was every couple hours for bags of cheeseburgers with bacon and mustard. We maintained buckets, literally, of vodka and OJ. The Coca-Cola machine had to be filled each day. Bowie entertained himself which ever way he liked. I'll post a sort of portrait shot from the session for a better look at him. He was extremely slight!"
Incredible stuff. Thanks to Mikey Order for creating the site and to Dean Halonen for posting the photo and his memories of that forgotten moment in Milwaukee music history.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published May 26, 2015
OK, I admit that I've led you here under (potentially) false pretenses. What I really want is for you, dear readers, to tell me about the best pizzerias in Kenosha.
Published May 22, 2015
Back in 1996, some folks saw the closing of West Allis-West Milwaukee School District's Roosevelt School, 932 S. 60th St., as "inevitable" and that prediction came true later that year. Now, it seems that the demolition of the building might also be inevitable, though nothing has yet been officially decided.
Published May 20, 2015
It's that time of year again. The time when I'm thrilled that my kids are thrilled to sign up for Milwaukee Public Library's Super Reader summer reading program.
Published May 19, 2015
Standing amid the surviving buildings of the old Concordia College, it's easy to imagine what an inviting campus this was back in the day. Low-rise buildings - most of them in that collegiate gothic style that shouts "university" - surrounded the quad on all four sides, creating an intimate, protective environment. These days, most of the buildings survive and they're owned by the Forest County Potawatomi, which has plans to renovate the entire campus.
Published May 18, 2015
Leo Minor is a relatively faint constellation up in the northern sky that comprises an array of 37 distant stars. Closer to home Leo Minor is a nom de bass of local veteran musician Jason Todd. Though this Leo Minor is just one star, it draws on a vast array of musical influences. The latest result of the ongoing project is a white label vinyl 7" 45.
Published May 15, 2015
This morning the folks in the facilities department of the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District were kind enough to give me a tour of a closed school building. As an added bonus, my tour guide offered to show me an interesting school nearby, too. The contrast was striking.
Published May 14, 2015
Adventure Rock will host a groundbreaking next Wednesday for its new East Side location on the corner of Commerce and North.
Published May 13, 2015
I'm enjoying watching the progress of some vintage Milwaukee buildings being prepared for the future.
Published May 13, 2015
If you're champing at the bit for the next Doors Open MKE, you'll have to wait until September. But you can get your hometown exploration fix thanks to DOMKE's elder Historic Milwaukee Inc. sibling, Spaces and Traces, which is back for its 34th year this weekend.
Published May 11, 2015
A while back I had the pleasure of exploring the 1876 cream city brick house at 1363 N. Prospect Ave. Designed by architect James Douglas, for grain broker Gilbert Collins, the house has since been converted to office space, but it retains many of of fabulous details. The other day, Cobalt Glassworks' Jon Schroder sent me some photos of newly restored vintage windows from Collins House.