LOS ANGELES -- Though David Bowie has his hand in just about
everything these days -- from video games, to the Internet, to
commencement speeches -- he still found time to compose dozens of songs
for his next album, due in September.
Guitarist Reeves Gabrels collaborated on the tracks with the legendary
"Reeves and I wrote over 100 songs last year," Bowie said during a press
conference here Wednesday.
"But 50 of them are bad," quipped Gabrels.
"But 50 of them are very good," Bowie retorted.
A source close to the singer described the material for the as-yet-untitled
project as reminiscent of Bowie's 1971 album Hunky Dory, calling
it "lush," "beautiful" and "song-driven." Often noted as Bowie's best
work as a singer/songwriter, that album included his ostensible theme
(RealAudio excerpt), which launched the chameleonlike artist into the pop mainstream.
The expected first single will be a rocker called "The Pretty Things Are
Going to Hell," according to the source, who did not want to be named.
The tune, written with Gabrels, also will be featured on the soundtrack
to the forthcoming film "Stigmata."
With his sandy-brown hair falling around his temples, a black-clad Bowie
(born David Robert Jones) held a press conference at the House of Blues
on Wednesday to promote "Omikron: The Nomad Soul," a futuristic 3D
action-adventure game from Eidos Interactive.
The game's character Boz, based on Bowie's likeness, plays in a virtual
band with Gabrels and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey in a massive city called
Omikron. "My priority was that I looked about 24 years old," Bowie, 52,
said. The rocker also lent his voice to the project, and he and Gabrels
created original music for the game, including eight new songs.
"The idea of actually doing a soundtrack for anything involved in the
computer orientation was a real magnet for me," Bowie said, adding that
he and Gabrels approached the project like a film soundtrack. The rocker
said his son was "the game merchant in our home," and he studied up
before diving into the project by looking at popular video games.
"What we tried to do, more than anything, was provide the emotional
heart to the game," he said, remarking that the games he researched had a
"cold emotional drive."
One of the songs written for "Omikron," called "New Angels of Promise,"
was previewed in a demonstration of the game. The song, which pivots on
the line "Take us to the edge of time," has a theatrical, sing-along
feel. Bowie smiled and nodded his head as he watched it play on a monitor,
but he said he wasn't sure whether he would release the game's songs on
Bowie's adventuresome career has spanned more than three decades and
taken him from the glam rock of "Rebel Rebel" to the art rock of
(RealAudio excerpt) and, most recently, electronica.
Bowie also discussed the songwriting contest he held recently on his
website, BowieNet (www.davidbowie.com).
"We got something approaching 300,000 entries -- every one which I read
myself of course," Bowie said, smirking. The winner, Alex Grant, will be
flown to New York, where he'll join Bowie in the studio.
There Bowie will record a song called "What's Really Happening" using
Grant's winning lyrics, which include the lines, "Grown inside a plastic
box/ Micro thoughts and safety locks/ Hearts become outdated clocks/
Ticking in your mind." The recording of the song will be webcast live on
the site May 24.