02.18.2016
culture

David Bowie's L.A. of 1975 as Seen by Dave Grohl and Pat Smear

Also, 'Playboy' is in there with Grohl and Smear.

Los Angeles is magical. The city is a liminal space entirely unique in its breadth of allure. Of course, the place can also be equally divisive and inhospitable, at times

A year that shined particularly bright (at least in hindsight, knowing what we know now) on L.A.’s timeline is 1975 through 1976, when the late David Bowie survived on a diet of “cocaine, peppers and milk,” on Doheny Drive, straddling the line between Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Bowie was in town recording Station to Station—an album that would be listed by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest of all time

One recent sunny afternoon, former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Pat Smear––Smear was previously in L.A. punk outfit the Germs—climbed into a Chevy Bronco and gave themselves a guided tour through some of the most magical intersections in David Bowie's rock and roll history.

During the drive, captured on camera by Playboy, Smear recounts afternoons spent at Joan Jett’s apartment across from the Whisky on Sunset Boulevard. Bowie, unknown to Smear and friends, was staying just blocks away. After learning that the starman was in town, Smear remembers more-or-less stalking the musician.

From Playboy:

“We saw Bowie driving around in a beat-up old VW bug. Eventually we tracked him down to Cherokee Studios. He was making Station to Station. . .Darby [Crash, of the Germs] was already writing lyrics. One day, he did a bunch of writing and stuck it on the windshield of [Bowie’s] car, and he got a letter back. It complimented his writing.”

Grohl and Smear visit the site of the fondly remembered and long-gone Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, also on Sunset, before sharing more Bowie stories over lunch at the Rainbow Bar & Grill––once again, in the thick of the Sunset Strip. 

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