Shearwater vs David Bowie III: Conversations

Shearwater vs David Bowie III: Conversations

We’ll call this a chaser to my previous two posts detailing Shearwater’s stepping into the Thin White Duke’s shoes for a few years; a series of articles detailing frontman Jonathan Meiburg’s deep fascination with all things David Bowie.

First off, an essay/review at Talkhouse from March 2013 about Bowie’s penultimate record, The Next Day wherein rather than get into the more conventional narratives about Bowie’s unexpected comeback after years of retirement, the secrecy under which the record was created, or even the songs, Meiburg elects to consider the arc of Bowie’s career via the characteristics of his voice:

Listen to Hunky Dory or Ziggy, and all his vowels are flat, his mouth’s nearly closed, his voice is resonating off the back of his front teeth, and he cuts right through all those twelve-string guitars and tinny pianos like the knife of his namesake.  But as you go further, through Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs to the Berlin years and beyond, a weird thing starts to happen: the voice migrates toward the back of his throat, his jaw drops, his vowels open, and he sounds ever more like his hero Scott Walker, whose spooky intonation on 1977’s Nite Flights is almost a dead ringer for Bowie’s, except that it’s really the other way around.

Jonathan Meiburg (Shearwater) Talks David Bowie’s The Next Day @ Talkhouse

And in January 2016, after Bowie’s passing, Meiburg was one of many Talkhouse contributors who offered his thoughts on what Bowie meant to him:

“More than anything, it’s the core of sincerity and urgency at the heart of nearly everything DB did that makes you look and listen again, and again”

Jonathan Meiburg, Talkhouse Contributors Remember David Bowie @ Talkhouse

And finally, in December 2016, he did a full interview with Stomp and Stammer about his experience with Bowie which is actually a lot like mine:

“I loved Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane back in college, but there’s always a moment, if you listen to a greatest hits record or something, where the songs start to get really weird. (laughs). And I was always kind of like, ‘I don’t understand what he’s doing here…’ But then about five years ago, that stuff hit me like a ton of bricks. And now it’s pretty much the only Bowie that I like to listen to.”

Bowie Keeps Swinging: Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg Weighs In On The Ongoing Impact Of The Thin White Duke @ Stomp And Stammer

Excellent reads, every one. And if you enjoy Meiburg’s thoughts in the written word, consider his first book A Most Remarkable Creature, which is about the caracara bird. Because on top of all this, Meiburg is an ornithologist. Because why not.

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