#BookReview | Spider from Mars: My Life with David Bowie by Woody Woodmansey

spiders-from-mars-by-woody-woodmansey

About the Book

In January 2016, the unexpected death of David Bowie rocked the globe. For millions of people, he was an icon celebrated for his music, his film and theatrical roles, and his trendsetting influence on fashion and gender norms. But no one from her inner circle has told the story of how David Jones—a young folksinger, dancer, and aspiring mime—became one of the most influential artists of our time.
Drummer Woody Woodmansey is the last surviving member of Bowie’s band The Spiders from Mars which helped launch his Ziggy Stardust persona and made David Bowie a sensation.
In this first memoir to follow Bowie’s passing, Spider from Mars reveals what it was like to be at the white-hot center of a star’s self-creation. With never-before-told stories and never-before-seen photographs, Woodmansey offers details of the album sessions for The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and Aladdin Sane: the four albums that made Bowie a cult figure. And, as fame beckoned by eventually consumed Bowie, Woodmansey recalls the wild tours, eccentric characters, and rock ‘n’ roll excess that eventually drove the band apart.
A vivid and unique evocation of a transformative musical era and the enigmatic, visionary musician at the center of it, with a foreword by legendary music producer Tony Visconti and an afterword from Def Leppard’s Joe Elliot, Spider from Mars is for everyone who values David Bowie, by one of the people who knew him best.

My Thoughts

I couldn’t resist requesting this book when it was available on NetGalley. I’m a huge David Bowie fan and love every era of his including Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Woody Woodmansey is from a place near where I’m originally from so I feel like I was aware of the Spiders from Mars from a really young age.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a real insight into Woody’s life and his time with the Spiders from Mars. It’s a candid look back over the years and it felt very open and honest. The way the Spiders came to be and how Woody end up a part of the band was really interesting. It’s obvious that there was a genuine camaraderie between the band and Bowie during their early days together, and I loved reading the stories. I enjoyed reading about David Bowie their recording process and how the songs came to be.

There are a lot of funny stories in this memoir too – the way the band felt when Bowie first suggested some of the more outrageous stage outfits is amusing. The ways they would wind each other up in the early days just shows how for a time they were just normal young men in a band trying to make it big. There is a real warmth in the way Woodmansey tells his story.

Bowie famously killed off Ziggy Stardust on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo on the last night of the tour, which came as a shock to the Spiders from Mars and Woodmansey gives his side of the story in this memoir. It obviously became quite tumultuous for everyone as David Bowie’s fame grew and the cracks began to show between him and the rest of the Spiders from Mars, which is plain to see was very painful for Woodmansey.

It’s incredibly moving to read about the deaths of members of the Spiders from Mars – Mick Ronson and later Trevor Bolder, and I hadn’t realised before that Woodmansey’s current band Holy Holy were on tour in America when the news broke that David Bowie had died. The chapter covering how he found out and his reflections on his friend were incredibly moving – it really did make me cry.

This memoir is about Woody Woodmansey looking back at his life and in particular his time in the Spiders from Mars, and David Bowie is a part of that but it’s very much Woodmansey’s life story. It’s another perspective on that incredible period of time in music. There are also some great photos in this book that I hadn’t seen before and I loved having the chance to see those.

After finishing the book I immediately had to listen to the albums from this period out of the Five Years vinyl boxset to really immerse myself, yet again, in the amazing music of David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley.

Spider from Mars: My Life with David Bowie is out now and available from all good book shops.

 

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Stacking the Shelves (5th March 2016)

 

I usually do a weekly wrap-up and stacking the shelves post in one but I’ve decided to separate them so I can focus on each one individually. I may end up combining them again in the future but for now, my stacking the shelves post will be posted on a Saturday and my weekly wrap-up will be posted on a Sunday.

So, here goes…

stacking-the-shelves

(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.)


 

I didn’t post a stacking the shelves post last week so all the books in this post are ones I’ve received over the last fortnight.

GHOSTBIRD

 

This week I received a gorgeous print copy of Ghostbird by Carol Lovekin. I’m going to be reviewing this book for the blog tour on 21st March so had already been sent an e-copy but it was really lovely to received a finished print copy in the post too.

 

I was also approved for a couple of titles on Net Galley this week:

Everything Love is by Claire King (I completely and utterly adored The Night Rainbow so I can’t wait to start reading this one. I feel sure I’ll fall in love with it just as much!)

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

In The Light Of What We See by Sarah Painter

 

I was contacted by the lovely author Sarah Painter to ask if I’d like to review her forthcoming book In The Light Of What We See, which I was thrilled about so I have a net galley copy of this to read too.

 

 

I also bought some more new books this week but in fairness I did still have some money left on a gift card from my birthday so I don’t think these purchases really count… 

The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

What She Never Told Me by Kate McQuaile

Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

Cure: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body by Jo Marchant

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad

These Days Of Ours by Juliet Ashton

Sweet Home by Carys Bray

Crush by Eve Ainsworth

Tony Visconti: The Autobiography by Toni Visconti

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks

 

 

The following books were in a recent Kindle sale:

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Here We Stand: Women Changing the World compiled & Edited by Helena Earnshaw & Angharad Penrhyn Jones

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

A Book for Her by Bridget Christie

The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

Monsters by Emerald Fennell

 

So, that’s all of my new books from the last two weeks. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too. 🙂 

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.