When David Bowie passed away in 2016, Austin took it hard. Our social media feeds were full of grief as well as thank yous to Bowie for his music. Local bands added “Heroes” to their sets. We even had a David Bowie Street for a few days.
The outpouring of grief from fans showed that he didn’t just transform modern music; he also transformed people’s lives. With his embrace of theatricality, ambiguity and experimentation, Bowie seemed to give us all permission to be different.
To honor him, Weeva invited fans across the world to write thank you letters to Bowie and his family. We’re excited to present these letters in our newest book – Starman: Fans Say Goodbye to David Bowie. We’ll also be presenting the book to his family.
In Starman, people write about the first time they heard his music, the excitement of his live shows, his kindness to his fans. A few themes repeat: “He showed me it was OK to be different.” “He made me feel I wasn’t alone.” “He saved my life.”
In Seduced by Sound: Austin, so many local musicians talk about Bowie’s influence on their music that it puts him in the top 10 of the most influential artists – people who helped shape the sound of Austin. (Read previous posts on what Austin musicians say about the top four most influential bands/artists – the Beatles, Dylan, Hendrix and Elvis – and the next six most influential.)
SEDUCED BY BOWIE
For Adrian Quesada (The Echocentrics, Brownout), Bowie was one of the great frontmen and an amazing lyricist. For Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit), Bowie’s influence was about artistic freedom. For Lauren Larson (Ume), it was dancing to artists like David Bowie as a little girl that made her fall in love with music’s ability to make us move.
And in the words of more Seduced by Sound musicians:
“Nothing affected me as much as David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The weird just kept getting weirder from then on.”
—Justin Wade Thompson
“Bowie’s Low and Heroes and the ambient music series Brian Eno did changed the way I thought records could sound and led me to being a more experimental artist.”
“Performers like Bowie inspired us to make our live performance a theatrical show, and we’ve put on our costumes and danced at every show we’ve played, be it for a lone bartender or a thousand-person crowd. Perhaps what’s most inspiring about Bowie was the way he never stopped moving forward. He had so many successful albums, and so many lesser writers would’ve settled into a comfortable role of churning out Ziggy Stardusts, but Bowie never settled. It felt like he never took on a project that he wasn’t actually interested in, and that’s a philosophy we try to embrace.”
—Aaron Miller (Sphynx)
A LETTER FROM A FAN
Seduced by Sound: Austin is a kind of thank you letter from musicians. In Starman, we hear from fans who were inspired to make their own music. One of our favorite stories is from an Austin fan:
“Last Friday, I was at my job, taking tickets at a garage at a church, and feeling lost and defeated. All of a sudden, I started singing, ‘It’s a god-awful small affair/to the girl with the mousy hair . . .’ I realized that I had taught myself to sing, through all these years, and almost every song is David’s. He often sang in a range that I could manage, and if I couldn’t go low or high, I’d practice in the car till I could. Standing there in the garage, singing at the top of my lungs, I had folks come up to me, stand and hear me, and shout enthusiastic encouragement (‘SING IT, GIRL!’) and everything, for just a hot minute, was all right.”
From all of us at Weeva – thank you, David, for your music and for making us feel things are all right.
WANT MORE STORIES?
ABOUT THE BOOKS
In Seduced by Sound: Austin, over 100 of the city’s best musicians and bands talk about why and how they make music. With stories, reflections and even advice – combined with tributes to legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Townes Van Zandt – it’s a look at the past, present and future of the Austin music scene. The book also comes with 50+ MP3s from some of the artists who keep Austin, Texas, known worldwide as the Live Music Capital of the World.
David Bowie changed everything – music, fashion, culture. Once “Space Oddity” hit turntables all over the world, it felt like nothing was the same. After his passing in 2016, Weeva asked fans to write thank you letters to Bowie and his family to honor this great artist. With personal stories of how he touched their lives, Starman: Fans Say Goodbye to David Bowie is a unique portrait of the artist through the eyes of his fans.