“Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie” by Woody Woodmansey 

29772867Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie
by Woody Woodmansey
320 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

The radio station I work for gave copies of this book away on the air when it was released and I kept wanting to read the book.  Problem was the promotion happens first and all copies were given away on the air.  So eventually I forgot about the book and it slipped from my mind.  A few months ago we were going through the infamous radio station “prize closet” cleaning out and seeing what could still be packaged up and given to listeners.  For some reason there was a solitary copy of the book sitting in the back of the shelves.  I immediately grabbed and said, “hold on to this I want to read this.”

Being a huge Bowie fan (but then again, who isn’t) I wanted some more insight into the world of Bowie.  The career of Woody Woodmansey covered covers my favorite (and probably many others) era of Bowie’s career.  Woody was one of the Spiders from Mars, this means he was with Bowie during the early 70s on the albums from “The Man Who Sold the World” (1970) through to the album, “Alladin Sane” (1973).  These are some of the best (in my humble opinion) albums of Bowie’s career.

The book first starts with Woody’s stunted educational career, where his drums soon took over and school was less important.  The tales of how he was somewhat shunned by his parents and living at the top of the stairs in Bowie’s house created a great view into what a true starving artist’s life is like.

Soon the glam rock era was in full force and the Spiders were having to deal with fame, drugs, and being on the road.  The musicians were creating new music but their individual personal lives were creating little hiccups in their careers that soon led to the demise of the Spiders.  Woody Woodmansey tells these stories in such a candid/casual way that, as the reader, you feel as if you and Woody are just sitting in his living room or at the neighborhood pub and he’s just telling stories.  This makes the book a very fast and easy read.  Fast because you just have to know what happens next, and easy because the flow and structure of the stories are matter of fact with no extra fluff.

The book also covers the rest of Woody’s career to working with various artists through the years, including Art Garfunkel, all the way to various tributes to Mick Ronson and David Bowie leading up to him being the only surviving Spider.  Woody still tours with his band Holy Holy which is somewhat of a Bowie tribute band.

Although this book has no big reveals or shocking secrets, it is a nice glimpse into the early 70s music scene.