Has one of the greatest artists of all time given up music? According to David Bowie biographer Paul Trynka, that may be the case. Dame David has been ultra quiet of late, with his last public performance in 2006, performing alongside Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour at an event in London. The former coke fiend is reliably said to have had heart surgery in recent years and has been doing his best to keep a low profile; even though Toy, an unreleased album from 2002 featuring cast offs from the album Heathen, a bunch of B-Sides and some reinterpretations of his back catalogue was recently leaked on to the internet.
However, despite fans’ hopes that he may be bunkered down in the studio cooking up another masterpiece, one of his biographers reckons he’s hung up the boots. According to former editor in chief of Mojo magazine, Paul Trynka, who is currently flogging Starman, his new biography of the rock icon, it’s unlikely. He asks “Has he retired from the music scene? My heart says he’ll come back[but] my head says he’s likely not to. I think he would only come back if he thinks he could deliver something that will be seismic. If you pop back into the stage, it’s got to be something that has a big explosion and lots of flashes. It would be a bit of a miracle if he comes back, but miracles do happen.”
Having written the book, however, Trynka is in no less awe of his subject. “His head was full of ideas,” says the author. Speaking of Bowie’s transformation from run of the mill one hit wonder to culture defining superstar in 1971, he argues “He just sat in a room and learned how to play piano from scratch. To me I think that year represents the foundation of the David Bowie we know. He turned into a really talented songwriter [through] hard work, working the piano with a kind of obsessiveness. And when he did that, he learned how to write songs in a completely different way. Here is a guy who in 1971 turned himself from an average or catchy songwriter into a brilliant one.”