Tony Visconti, the man responsible for producing David Bowie albums such as Heroes and Young Americans, has joined forces with the singer again on The Next Day.
Bowie announced The Next Day last week, his first album for 10 years, while also releasing lead single ‘Where Are We Now?’. A press release accompanying the announcement read thus: “In recent years radio silence has been broken only by endless speculation, rumor and wishful thinking ….a new record…who would have ever thought it, who’d have ever dreamed it! After all David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants…when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell. Today he definitely has something to say”.
Although Visconti claimed in the aftermath of the announcement that he didn’t think Bowie was likely to perform live again, in a new interview with Rolling Stone he appears to have softened his stance. When asked about Bowie’s live future, Visconti replied that “He says that he will only play if he feels like it, but no tour. Like, if [he] wanted to do the odd show in New York or, I don’t know, London, he would if he felt like it. And he made that very clear to the label that he wasn’t going to tour or do any kind of ridiculously long album promotion. It was his idea to just drop it at midnight on his birthday and just let things avalanche.”
Speaking about the album, Visconti reveals that “Everything [aside from 'Where Are We Now?'] on the album is kind of observations. [Bowie]‘s writing in the third person. Some of them belong to his life, but some of them are things like social commentary. He was reading a lot of medieval English history books, and he came up with one medieval English history song. That’s the title track, ‘The Next Day’. It’s about somebody who was a tyrant, very insignificant; I didn’t even know who he was talking about. But if you read the lyrics, it’s quite a horrific story”. He also talks RS through the band for the album: Zachary Alford as main drummer with Sterling Campbell on several tracks, bass predominantly Gail Ann Dorsey, with Tony Levin on “four or five tracks”, and guitars Gerry Leonard, David Torn and Earl Slick. Bowie plays keyboards, acoustic guitar and electric guitar; Visconti also contributes bass.
The full interview features a funny anecdote about Robert Fripp leaking info of the new Bowie album but nobody believing him, as well as some information about Morrissey’s current recording situation. You can read it here.