This is probably the most difficult person to write on I’ve ever dealt with on this blog. Very, very, very early in Bowie’s career, he made some unusual life choices. First of all, he teamed up with a rather odd character named Lindsay Kemp.
And, he dabbled in Buddhism. Now, the thing about Lindsay Kemp, especially in the late 60′s, was he was into pantomime. Bowie, was singing and looking very, very, normal. This made for a career that was basically going nowhere. However, once Bowie teamed up with Kemp, things started getting strange real quick.
First, he tried his hand at mime. That didn’t go anywhere on the charts. So, he added music to his mime:
That went a lot farther!
Now, you have to look kinda close in the next video, but one of the scary looking people is
Lindsay Kemp ( I think ). Actually it’s Jack Birkett. See his excellent comment which leads to his Myspace page!
Now, you can read all you want about Kemp at Wiki or whatever. But, it was his very odd mix of Kabuki and dance IMO that gave us this:
Now, I picked this particular song for a reason. Lindsay Kemp was a huge fan of a fellow named Jean Genet. Now, Jean Genet was not your everyday run of the mill bum/author/poet/prostitute/political activist. He apparently was quite gay as well, being kicked out of the army for indecency. I think it’s quite obvious what song Jean Genet inspired:
A small Jean Genie snuck off to the city
Strung out on lasers and slash back blazers
Ate all your razors while pulling the waiters
Talking bout Monroe and walking on Snow White
New York’s a go-go and everything tastes right
Poor little GreenieCHORUS
The Jean Genie lives on his back ( prostitute )
The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks ( homosexual )
He’s outrageous, he screams and he bawls ( protests everything )
Jean Genie let yourself go! ( friendly sarcasm )Sits like a man but he smiles like a reptile
She loves him, she loves him but just for a short while
She’ll scratch in the sand, won’t let go his hand
He says he’s a beautician and sells you nutrition
And keeps all your dead hair for making up underwear
Poor little GreenieCHORUSHe’s so simple minded he can’t drive his module
He bites on the neon and sleeps in the capsule
Loves to be loved, loves to be loved
I know there has to be some song Bowie did that was based on Lindsay Kemp, but so far I can’t think of which it would be. But, it was Bowie meeting and teaming up with Kemp that led to Ziggy Stardust and Bowie’s most visual and writing creativity for a decade. In other words, although there may be no specific song acknowledging Kemp’s influence on Bowie, what Bowie became IS that tribute.
Jean Genet died about 20 years ago. Lindsay Kemp is about 70, alive, and pretty much retired. If you want to see some very odd, and visually and mentally challenging stuff, Google Lindsay Kemp ( and Jack Birkett, aka the incredible Orlando ). I really can’t do their stuff justice here.