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On The Road With David Bowie

Author Clifford Slapper at the piano with David Bowie. Photo: Ray Burmiston

Mike Garson with David Bowie, 1974. Photo: Kate Simon

Biography of David Bowie's most frequent musician ever, master pianist Mike Garson, with accompanying album of Bowie songs arranged for piano & voice only.

Bowiesongs (LSE:Clifford Slapper)

Little did I know in 1973 that I'd end up years later, playing piano for Bowie, & being asked by pianist Mike Garson to write his biography!”
— Author and pianist, Clifford Slapper
LONDON, LO, UNITED KINGDOM, September 11, 2018 / -- David Bowie pianist Clifford Slapper pens first biog of Bowie's most frequent side-person in revealing study. Plus, new album tie-in of Bowie classics arranged for piano & voice.

Great new Bowie book & related album: "Bowie's Piano Man" & "Bowie Songs One".

"Bowie's Piano Man: The Life of Mike Garson" by Clifford Slapper published by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Corp. Available worldwide from October 1, incl. in UK/Europe. First ever and only biography of Mike Garson, David Bowie's pianist from 1972 and his most frequently used musician, throughout Bowie's career, on record and stage.

“The must-have book in this field” Ricky Gervais

“Wonderful addition to the Bowie bibliography” ✭✭✭✭ Classic Pop (Awards issue Best Book)

“Slapper gives us welcome musical insights” ✭✭✭ MOJO magazine

“A great book, engaging, inspiring and entertaining; written extremely well and sympathetically about one of the greatest pianists of our times” Blues And Soul Magazine

"a rich, never-before-told account of the eventful career of one of music's oft-unheralded players” Hot Press (Ireland's top music mag)

"Readable, rigorous, revealing, Bowie’s Piano Man is musicology of the highest order. Brilliant!” Tribune

The story of Mike Garson takes into its broad sweep much of the story of modern music itself. It tells how this young New York jazz pianist was catapulted into the international rock scene after one short audition in 1972, when he was first booked to join the tour of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Contracted for just 8 weeks, he was still playing for Bowie 34 years later. He played for Bowie's first ever and last ever live performances in the USA. Author of the book, Clifford Slapper, also worked with Bowie, playing piano for Bowie on his last ever television appearance in the world (Extras, 2006). The book is based around a dialogue between these musicians and reveals the special creative bond between Garson and Bowie, which lasted through decades of evolving music.

Author, Clifford Slapper says: "I rushed home from school, aged 10, to buy my first record in 1973. It was David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane". I fell in love with Bowie's music and the avant-garde piano of Mike Garson which can be heard on that album changed my life. It made me determined to become a pianist. Little did I know then that I would end up years later, playing piano for Bowie myself, and being asked by Garson to write his biography!"

The book also explores what is means to work as a musician and includes fascinating chapters on: musicians and addiction, music as therapy, improvisation (for which Mike Garson is famous), and Garson's detailed recollections of 9 world tours with David Bowie, with many behind the scenes revelations of life on the road.

Bowie's Piano Man was released in a limited hardback edition in the UK in 2014. This new, softcover, American edition from Backbeat Books is much longer, and includes coverage of Bowie's death in 2016. This revised and much expanded new version of this unique book has these special features:

• Six new chapters (ie now has 21 chapters rather than 15)
• New Preface
• New Foreword written by Mike Garson himself
• Hundreds of revisions and improvements throughout the text.
• Many new photos compared with earlier edition, this time in colour, and some of which have never before been seen, of David Bowie as well as Mike Garson
• Full update on events 2014-2018 including the 2016 death of David Bowie and its profound effects on his long term friend and collaborator, Garson.
• Several additional new interviews, for example with Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins, with Donny McCaslin whose band played on final Bowie album Blackstar, and with the producer of several early Bowie albums, Ken Scott. These and several other key interviews take their place alongside those already in the earlier edition such as Trent Reznor, Tony Visconti, Earl Slick and Gail Ann Dorsey.

It is not an official or “authorised” biography, but was written with full co-operation and extensive input directly from its subject, which gives it an authenticity and immediacy which it would otherwise lack. It is also unusual in that it is written by one pianist about the life of another pianist, and both worked with David Bowie.

Author, Clifford Slapper, besides playing for Bowie, has also played with Jarvis Cocker, Boy George, Lisa Stansfield, Suggs, Marc Almond, Holly Johnson, Billie Ray Martin and many others.

He is the producer of recent acclaimed album, “Bowie Songs One by Clifford Slapper & Friends" :

The album features ten top vocalists, each interpreting a Bowie song, raw and unplugged, with just the piano of Clifford Slapper to accompany them. The new album has had rave reviews:

‘This is gorgeous!’
Boy George

‘Fabulous. This album is fantastic, so imaginative.’
Steve Harley (Cockney Rebel)

‘David would have loved this.’
George Underwood, lifelong best friend of David Bowie since they were both 9 years old

‘To hear these songs in such a personalised context is a real ear-opener. I listened as though someone else had written them.’
David Bowie, on Bowie Songs One vocalist Des de Moor’s 2003 album with Russell Churney, Darkness & Disgrace, also of Bowie songs arranged for piano and voice.

‘IT’S A SWEET THING. ★★★★ 2017 sees two of Bowie’s former pianists releasing albums containing interpretations of Bowie’s work. While Rick Wakeman was with him as his morning was breaking, Clifford Slapper was there at its twilight. Whereas Wakeman added his flourish most notably to “Life On Mars?”, Slapper’s fascinating footnote is that Bowie mimed to his off-screen piano playing during his comic turn on Ricky Gervais’ Extras. What unequivocally shines through is how well these songs were written; but where Bowie Songs One truly succeeds is that it makes material so inextricably linked with its author sound so fresh and unfamiliar.’
Record Collector magazine

Clifford Slapper
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New Album: Bowie Songs One by Clifford Slapper & Friends

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