Interview : 60 seconds with Woody Woodmansey (David Bowie, Spiders From Mars, Holy Holy)
1. Hi Woody thanks for taking the time to speak to us today, it really is an honour! Your latest project is Holy Holy, playing the works of David Bowie. How did that idea start and how did you go about putting the band together?
In 2013 I was asked by the ‘Institute of Contemporary Arts’ (ICA) if I would be willing to do a live interview in front of 200 people as part of a ‘Bowie’ week they were doing. It was the first event like that I’d done and I enjoyed it, great questions from the audience.
They (ICA) had put together a band consisting of Clem Burke (Blondie) drums, Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), Paul Cuddeford(Bob Geldoff) guitartist and several other name musicians to play a set at the Latitude Festival under the Institute’s banner. The band asked me if I’d go along and play a couple of songs. I did and played Five Years and Ziggy Stardust. The response for the band was amazing and as a result of that several other offers for gigs came in.
Unfortunately Blondie were touring so Clem couldn’t do it. I was asked if I’d take the drum seat. I said yes and we did a mini tour.
Then I remembered the fact that the first album Mick Ronson, Tony Visconti and myself had done with David ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ had never been played live. David had been between new management and in negotiations at that time and we had no finances to tour the album.
Now I could tour it if I could get Tony Visconti who was the bass player and producer of that album to come on board! I phoned him up and he said ‘wherever you want me I’ll be there…every time I did a new album with David we always talked about how we regretted never playing that album live!’ Hence Holy Holy was born…and now we’ve got the full band, the amazing Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17) on vocals, James Stevenson (Alarm) on guitar, Paul on guitar, Berenice Scott (Heaven 17) on keys and Jessica Lee Morgan on 12 string guitar and sax (Tony’s daughter).
2. How have you found the audience’s reaction to Holy Holy?
The audience reaction has been amazing and surprisingly there have been many teenagers in the audience, who show up with the early Bowie albums to sign. The legacy lives on….
3. You’ve managed to take the Holy Holy show all over the place, hitting Japan and the USA on top of tonnes of UK dates. How does touring compare to when you were out on the road back in the day?
Less wild parties and sober riders!
4. What’s on the Holy Holy rider nowadays?
5. Aside from the music, The Spiders From Mars were known for your outrageous getups that took glam to new heights! Any chance of seeing some similar outfits for a few shows?
Not a chance!
6. With yourself and Tony Visconti now working together again is there any ideas to get back in the studio or is this to remain a live act?
We did a live album of the show ‘The Man Who Sold The World, Live in London’ a couple of years ago which did really well but no plans for new stuff.
Thank you again Woody, your music has been inspirational to millions. It’s a pleasure to speak to you!