has long asserted that the name of his 1970s alter-ego "Ziggy
Stardust" was inspired by the Legendary Stardust Cowboy
(Norman Odam, a.k.a. "The Ledge," who has a featured
chapter in Songs in the Key of Z). Though Bowie
was reportedly a fan, the two had never met. That all changed
in August 2002, as explained by Odam's friend Tony Philputt,
who directed an as-yet unreleased documentary about The Ledge...
Sunday, August 18, 2002
- - I Just
got back from San Francisco where I escorted The Ledge to meet
As I've been having a shitty time the last few months [since
moving to Los Angeles], I needed some sort of good news to keep
me going. It seems as if this city is finally starting to wear
I might be happier if I were employed and not living in a crack
whore-infested barrio where folks don't seem to have a problem
shitting themselves in public. Perhaps if I could walk ten feet
without someone who smells like a urinal bugging me for money,
I would cheer up.
But then again perhaps not.
I haven't been mugged yet, but I eagerly anticipate someone trying.
I seem to have amassed so much "City Rage" that I'm
willing to take a few knocks just to get the chance to wail on
In a nutshell, and with few exceptions, I pretty much hate everyone
I see when I step out my door these days.
I am now officially a resident of LA!!!
It was with this attitude that I drove to SF, where I got to
see my old pal Duncan and meet his very engaging and supremely
amicable paramour Jen. We ate at an Afghan restaurant, and had
some great grub, which somewhat lessened my current world weariness.
The next day we drove to Santa Clara to meet up with Joey Meyers
(the Ledge's drummer), where we exchanged bad news. I was not
able to contact my friend Mark at Bowienet.com to set up a meeting,
as he was in Venice on vacation. Joey's bad news was that our
"Plan B' had also crapped out.
Three in the afternoon -- and we had NO PLAN WHATSOEVER!!!
We decided to try to crash the proceedings. We went to pick up
Norman and head out to the amphitheater -- which fortunately
offered FREE parking, as we had visions of having to pay to fail.
We went to the will call window at the box office and asked the
woman if she would contact whoever was in charge of Bowie's road
affairs and tell him "The Ledge is here."
We figured this message would allow our situation to work itself
out, but the lady at the window had this look like she thought
we were nuts. However, we were right -- within five minutes,
four tickets and four backstage passes came shooting out the
window slot. It was great fun walking around with Norman, decked
in hat, boots, garish jacket and all, amongst the kids. Got a
lot of strange looks.
The four of us went back to the reception area, found a table
and proceeded to watch the show on the closed circuit TV, as
it was a bit loud up front and none of us had remembered to bring
earplugs. It was funny to watch Moby walk around the table slowly,
sneaking looks at the Ledge, trying to figure out who he was.
About halfway thru the show, Bowie's road manager came up to
the table, shook our hands and told us how excited David was
that we were there. He instructed us to stay where we were and
he would come get us after the show.
When he returned,
we followed him to the front of a line of folks who were waiting
for the ol' "Meet 'n' Greet" with David. You could
hear some grumbling about why we got placed ahead of them in
line since they had been there longer. But mostly I think they
were just trying to figure out who the hell we were.
They didn't wait long. Bowie came around the corner -- and his
face lit up like the proverbial Christmas tree.
"LEDGE!!!!!" came out of his mouth as he rushed up
to Norm and gave him a big squeeze. The look on both their faces
was priceless. Then he turned to me and said (I swear): "Hey,
you're the bloke who made the movie!"
He leaned in and said (again I swear), "Make sure I have
your phone number and email address 'cause I think I can help
Dumbfounded that he even knew who I was, we gave him the various
gifts we'd brought (he's wearing one of them in the photo) and
stood around and gabbed for a bit, much to the amazement and
befuddlement of the other folks waiting in line. As we left,
he pulled me aside again and reiterated how much he enjoyed the
film, how he thought my idea for redoing it with a different
ending was a great idea, and made sure he had my phone number!
On our way out, a roadie chased us down said he had been a fan
for years and asked Norm to sign his Mojo magazine (with
the article on The Ledge written by Bowie).
It was an amazing night that lifted my sagging spirits to the
level of minor annoyance as opposed to outright loathing.
As a sort of "gravy on top" thing, I've been told that
the package of Ledge stuff that I sent to Robert Plant (who was
rumored to be a huge fan) elicited swoons of delight, many questions,
and a request of a meeting when he comes to town.
How weird. Who woulda thunk?
I will, of course, fill you all in later if anything else comes
about. Tomorrow I'm back to pounding the pavement.
All the best,