In January 2017, St. Martin’s is releasing ‘Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie‘ by drummer Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey, the last surviving member of David Bowie’s backing band in the early 1970s, the Spiders from Mars.
Woodmansey played on the quartet of albums that brought Bowie to international stardom—from 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World to 1973’s Aladdin Sane—and in this memoir, he gives a firsthand account of recording sessions, tours, and the excesses that eventually broke the band apart. Tony Visconti, Bowie’s longtime producer, contributes the foreword.
Woodmansey’s memoir, which he started work on in 2014, focuses on this key period and brings it to glorious life. A phone call from David Bowie changed Woodmansey’s life. It was March 1970 and the twenty-year-old drummer from Driffield was about to take a sensible well-paid factory job. Instead, he took a huge leap of faith and joined Bowie’s band, embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.
Woodmansey describes the early years when money was so tight that the band – Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey, Mick Ronson, Tony Visconti and, later, Trevor Bolder – all lived in Bowie’s flat. He takes us through the period of intense creativity as they recorded The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars and Aladdin Sane. He reveals how Bowie transformed himself from a long-haired folk singer into the red-haired rock god Ziggy – and cajoled the Spiders (all down-to-earth Yorkshiremen) into outrageously tight, pastel velour suits and girls’ shoes.
They went from playing to forty people in a pub to playing in front of thousands of screaming fans in Britain, the US and Japan. Bowie and the Spiders had achieved their dream, but success came at a price. Insightful and poignant, ‘Spider from Mars: My Life with Bowie‘ lovingly evokes a seminal moment in music history and pays tribute to one of the most outstanding and innovative talents of our time.