from Tony Philputt
. .

David Bowie 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...
Bowie & The Ledge

Sunday, August 18, 2002

- - I Just got back from San Francisco where I escorted The Ledge to meet David Bowie.

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 me down.

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 someone.

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.

Bowie & The LedgeWhen 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 you."

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,



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