Kiwi rock stars pay tribute to David Bowie

Bowie: "He was just a cool AF older dude in well-cut clothes."
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Bowie: "He was just a cool AF older dude in well-cut clothes."

Ahead of a special Christchurch tribute concert, Charlie Gates talks to three Kiwi musicians about David Bowie's music, style and legacy.

The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and a handful of Kiwi rock and pop musicians will pay tribute to rock genius David Bowie at a special concert on May 27.

Shihad frontman Jon Toogood, Fur Patrol lead singer Julia Deans, singer songwriter Anna Coddington and Kora member Laughton Kora will bring their unique interpretations of Bowie's back catalogue, with the support of a full orchestra.

Jon Toogood

Jon Toogood says his favourite David Bowie song is Ashes to Ashes.
Lawrence Smith

Jon Toogood says his favourite David Bowie song is Ashes to Ashes.

I was lucky enough to have an older brother and sister with pretty good music taste and one of the albums that was lying around the family home was Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, which I became completely obsessed with as a kid. Was he really an alien from another planet who played rock 'n' roll? Was Five Years a true story? What did it all mean? Once those songs were embedded in my brain I've never managed to get them out and thank goodness, as they are still truly inspirational to me as both a writer and a music fan.

My favourite Bowie song is Ashes To Ashes from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), because it became a massive worldwide pop hit without playing by any of the rules that these sort of songs do.

Compared to a modern big radio song, it's completely experimental musical madness and all the more wonderful for it. He also managed to reintroduce a character from an old hit of his called Major Tom, who appeared in Space Oddity which, historically speaking, was from a completely different time and place.

Yet he totally updates him for the time he's in and, in doing so, reinvents himself for a new generation of music fans. It's fearless, funky as, heart breakingly beautiful and utterly unique, yet your Mum can still sing along to it.

No one else could do that like Bowie.


My favourite Bowie look is a toss up between the Thin White Duke of the Station to Station era (the epitome of a stylish MF in my opinion) and the more down-to-earth cool of his Heroes phase.

I've been trying (and failing) to get that haircut for years.


I was at home emailing a friend at Warner Music (both His and my record company) about getting a copy of his upcoming vinyl box set for my daughter. He emailed back 'he just died!'. I thought he was talking about something or someone else, but thought I'd quickly check out the Googles to see if it was true. It unfortunately was. It was such a weird feeling. Like losing a family member or something.

He'd always been a major part of the soundtrack of my life and for myself as artist, a bit of a yardstick for what was cool, or if I was pushing myself hard enough creatively. I remember just sticking Life On Mars on my turntable, picking up my son and having a good cry. It was actually really beautiful.

Laughton Kora

Laughton Kora describes David Bowie as a "distinguished dope dapper dude".
Jill Guillemin

Laughton Kora describes David Bowie as a "distinguished dope dapper dude".

As a kid growing up with musical brothers, we were forced to play music. By the age of 9 to 11, we knew more than 100 songs. I remember playing one of Bowie's songs, but can't remember which one. He was just another out-of-it cat from the 1970s. It wasn't until much later I listened to him closely.

My favourite Bowie song is Fame. It's got my kind of groove. Funky as f....


My favourite Bowie look is from his later years with the three-piece suits. Distinguished dope dapper dude.




I can't remember where I was when he died, I remember being more pissed off than sad, as so many greats were dying that year. 

Anna Coddington

Anna Coddington says that she first encountered David Bowie via the 1986 film Labyrinth.
MAREEA VEGAS

Anna Coddington says that she first encountered David Bowie via the 1986 film Labyrinth.

My first encounter with Bowie would have been the film Labyrinth and I probably found him a bit scary and a bit of a jerk, but I loved that song Dance Magic Dance and loads of the other songs. I don't remember when I properly got into his music. It feels like it's just always been there, being amazing.

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I really love Bowie's many amazing 1980's party hits like Fame, Modern Love and Fashion. But if I had to pick one favourite song it would be Space Oddity. It's just such a mega song lyrically and melodically. Some of the changes in that song are so blissy. Amazing.

My favourite Bowie look was from Labyrinth for lolz. But seriously, I liked his later in life look – just a cool AF older dude in well-cut clothes. Stylish.

I was at home when I found out he had died. I felt sad.

* Symphonic Oddity: The Music of David Bowie will be performed at the Horncastle Arena on Saturday, May 27 at 7.30pm.

 - Stuff

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