Last week we asked the Council about their favorite goth lyrics, and the whole thing degenerated into a conversation about how awesome David Bowie's penis is. Since it came up so hard (Ha ha, we kill us), it seemed appropriate to debate whether or not Bowie can be declared goth or not.
While Bowie obviously predates the movement proper, his style and genius have always resonated with the spooky set, and many great artists steal shamelessly from him. However, is being an inspiration to the same thing as actually being what you inspire? That's what we aim to find out.
Joining us this week is fashion designer Batty, blogger at Night's Plutonian Shore Sarah Fanning, co-founder of the Age of Decay festival Alethea Carr, Toby Rider of Ending the Vicous Cycle, artist Darla Teagarden, dollmaker Ugly Shyla, and DJ Martin Oldgoth.
Batty: David Bowie is beyond terminology in my book, like some super being of the music world, he is the Grandfather of so many forms of the modern music we love. He took glam rock to a new level, he helped spawn goth and post punk and hell evem some punk bands took cues from Bowie. His fashion help define a era, and he's constantly been able to successfully reinvent himself, I think he has a deep brooding part of him that appeals to the goth aesthetic, but I really hold him on a higher plane than subculture references. He is one of the godfathers all of good music, seeing as goth is good music, he certainly had a part in it, but he's a lot more.
Sarah Fanning: I think he is definitely one of the forefathers of goth. His sound definitely influenced many early goth bands, as did his aesthetics. I know Robert Smith claims Bowie as an influence, and I believe they have collaborated on a song. Bauhaus covered Ziggy Stardust. Bowie and Trent Reznor have done a duet. And the book Goth: Unread Subculture has a whole section devoted to Bowie's influence on goth.
Alethea Carr: Well, certainly not goth, but ever so much more than "goth-friendly" and "goth-compatible." I see him, as an artist, as an essential gateway to the blurring of the line between play and reality, both in music and in film. As goths, we blur that line on an individual level, as a community, and in various artistic ways. You could almost say that although Bowie is not goth, he made it possible for goth to exist as it does. Plus, who of us didn't feel a revolutionary surge of hormones on first seeing him, at a crucial age?
Toby Rider: Bowie rocks. I should have known that our former bass player was an idiot when he said "David Bowie sucks. There are much better bands coming out now. Have you ever heard Iron & Wine?"
Martin Oldgoth: All I know is that without Bowie I'd probably have not shunned "normal" music and would have bypassed punk, if that had happened I wouldn't be here now doing what I do and having the life I have. I owe the man big time.
Darla Teagarden: David Bowie is a goth the way Tom Waits is a punk. Honorary status for those who need no ticket, pay stubs or proof of purchase.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Ugly Shyla: I'm like Batty I think he's just so damn unique that you can't really peg him as anything, but he's everything at the same time. He's like a unicorn.
Martin Oldgoth: Except he doesn't wear his horn on his head.
Ugly Shyla: A unicorn with a codpiece on its head!
Gothtopia: Annnnnnd we are right back at his penis.