One of clubland's glittering stars salutes glam-era Bowie at the Oh! You Pretty Things affair.
Mon Jan 10 2011
Michael T, Benjamin Ickies, Twig the Wonderkid and Shien Lee are back with their quarterly salute to glam rock, Oh! You Pretty Things, on Sunday 15; this edition focuses on David Bowie, in honor of his just-passed 64th birthday. We caught up with Michael—himself one of NYC nightlife's glammiest figures—to find out about the eternal appeal of the Thin White Duke.
How is it that you've become the go-to guy for everything Bowie-related in New York City clubland?
Bowie has been a part of my life for longer than I should probably admit to in print. But of course, I've been obsessed with Bowie forever—literally, since the tail end of the '70s.
I guess that means you were already old enough to be listening to cool music in the late '70s.
Let's put it this way—my Bowie collection is on vinyl.
Do you find it amazing that glam-era Bowie still has such an appeal for kids who probably weren't even alive when Ziggy Stardust and Alladin Sane came out?
Well, we do get a fairly young crowd, and at this point, those records are almost 40 years old. But I think it's great that people are still into it; I'm glad that people can appreciate something that's not from their generation. I suppose they're finding out about it from older brothers and sisters, or maybe very young and cool parents.
Why do you think Bowie, and glam in general, still have such an appeal to them?
The very simplistic reason would be that so much music is so hideous nowadays! But Bowie's music is just so good, and it's obviously provocative in terms of its look, which is something that's missing with most music today. Also, I think that people tend to romanticize eras that they've missed out on; I know I do. And let's face it—Bowie is such an icon, and has been so influential on music, not only at the time but with so much that came after. Punk, New Wave, all the '90s Britpop bands, electronic music, electroclash...there are very few artists with such a wide influence. Glam as a whole, whether it's Bowie or Roxy Music or Queen or Cockney Rebel or Alice Cooper or the New York Dolls, has had a huge impact. And perhaps most important, I think it's just fun.
And it's fun of a sort which perhaps doesn't exist so much otherwise on the scene.
Well, I don't want to sound like an old fogey and be like "Oh, these young kids..." But it is a different time now, and I do find it a little peculiar how young people have, quote, "fun," unquote. It seems like my generation had a better handle on fun—or at least a more colorful one.
One of your projects, Michael T & the Vanities, will be performing at the party. Will it be an all-Bowie set?
For this particular show, yes. I'll be focusing on songs from his Thin White Duke period, lots of music from Station to Station or songs that he performed on that tour; I'll be wearing that tuxedo-like cabaret garb of his. And my partner, Benjamin Ickies, will be performing with the This Ambitious Orchestra—he's the conductor, and he sings. And we're both celebrating our birthdays at the party.
Another year older...not that you're not extremely youthful, but do you plan on being the standard bearer for glam for decades to come, or are there some young people coming up who will...
...take up the mantle? You know, that's an interesting question. At this point, I think I'm always going to be affiliated with this kind of presentation via my parties and performances. It's what I'm known for, and I can live with that. I'd rather be known for that than some other things! And as long as I have the energy and can look the part with seeming too ridiculous, it'll be okay.
is at (Le) Poisson Rouge Sun 16.