‘Right guys, when’s the first practice?’ John was trying to organise things.
‘We’re just waiting for Maurice to clear receiving’, said Sam
‘White or Gibb?’ asked someone else.
‘White of course’, joined in Janis, ‘Gibb’s already here’.
‘Right then lets get this show on the road’. John was very organised. ‘We need a bass player’.
‘Noel is here man’, said Jimi, ‘and if you need a drummer, well my friend Mitch is pretty good’.
‘No, I think it should be Keith’, this from another bass player, John.
‘OK, we’ll have a vote after the first session and see who wins’, said the other John.
‘We need a keyboard man’, said David
‘Well there are quite a few, from Ray Charles, Rick Wright, Billy Preston…’, Sam was starting to ramble on a bit.
‘OK man, could you please tell who those last two were?’ Jimi sounded incredulous. ‘I personally know Ray’.
‘Rick was the keyboard sounds behind Pink Floyd,’ Sid Barrett piped up, having kept quiet in the background.
‘And Billy played keys on a lot of our stuff,’ said John.
The discussions ran on and on extolling the virtues or otherwise of who should make the final line-up. It would be though an awesome band, and the only problem was what music would they play; whose sings would they use? There was much scratching of heads, because not all them had written anything lately, except David, and his were probably not mainstream enough for many of the band members. They had all the musicians, all the talent but no singer yet either. Janis was considered but is a bit avant garde, so a male rock singer was needed: Billy Fury, Buddy Holly, Marvin Gaye, Davy Jones of the Monkees were all considered. The elephant in the room was Elvis. He sat in the corner not saying a word, knowing his voice wasn’t as good as it could be.
‘OK Elv, waddya say?’ Up popped BB King.
‘Uh hu, sorry guys my voice has gone, I don’ think it would last.’ Elvis was being honest.
‘Crap, course you’ve still got it.’ Freddy Mercury threw his hat into the ring.
More names were bandied about and some obscure and little known names were offered up. A couple of wags mentioned Rod Stewart or Elton John but they were shouted down on the grounds they weren’t around yet. There were other problems which none of the assembled legends had thought about: where would the gig take place, who would be the audience, how much should they charge? Brian Epstein the Beatles manager and Malcolm McClaren the Sex Pistols manager were also sceptical about the gig.
‘Sorry chaps, this will probably only be a rehearsal band, I don’t see how we could get up a venue, let alone an audience.’ Said Brian.
‘I agree guys, its a no-brainer, let’s just have a jam session amongst ourselves, after all you’ve got a built in audience here’,
Malcolm gestured around the area and there was quite a crowd gathering; artists, politicians, actors, royalty, other musos; the whole gamut of artistic talent was here. ‘And they don’t have to pay, which means you guys won’t have to pay any taxes or expenses.
‘Why?’ Said David Bowie.
‘Yes, why?’ Added Glenn Frey
‘Gotta say the same’, piped up Lemmy of Motorhead.
‘Well its quite easy…’ started Jimi Hendrix
‘…we’re all dead man’, John Lennon really finishing things.
‘Whaddya mean’, said Bowie slightly raising his voice.
‘Well, Dave,’ started Janis Joplin, ‘It’s David’ corrected Bowie.
‘OK David, fact is man you’ve like passed away, gone to that lovely place in the sky, come to meet your maker, saying hello to St Peter…’
‘OK I get it,’ Bowie came back, ‘but that can’t be, I planned my passing, my last album was being recorded right up until I fell asleep. Well that’s what it felt like anyway.’
‘Believe me,’ said Elvis ‘You don’t believe it but there ain’t no going back bro, you’re stuck here like forever. Better make the most of it. Look around there’s Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran, Michael Jackson, they’re all here.’
Bowie, Glenn Frey and Lemmy couldn’t believe it, they were very new so weren’t used to the older ones, who incidentally didn’t look any different from their heyday, even though some of them had been gone from 30-40 years. Hendrix looked exactly the same, so did Lennon. It began to dawn on Bowie, Frey and Co, there wasn’t any going back.
‘Look, I’ve got a few songs that none of you know, and I reckon you could all pick them up and jam along. Then you guys can tell me what you think,’ Bowie offered. He grabbed a 12 string guitar and started strumming a few chords and singing. People around were tapping their toes, nodding and generally getting into the groove. Gradually a bass guitar joined in, Keith Moon started a drum beat and Rick Wright slung in a few chords on the keyboards. Other musicians joined in until the whole effect was rather disjointed, but still basically musical.
Bowie stopped everyone, now that they all had the idea. More crowds were gathering and waiting expectantly. Bowie and the rest wanted to give a show, so he said to his fellow band members: ‘OK let’s start a 12 bar groove, and I’ll lead into my song’
They all nodded in agreement, they were after all pro musos and could jam along with just about anything. David Bowie raised his hand and turning to the crowd counted them in:
‘One, two three, four…..’