Do you even know who David Bowie is? You don’t need anyone at the film studio to run the record label, David can pick up the phone and call any number of people he knows everyone in the world so don’t worry who will run the label are you in or are you out?
It’s my birthday and my friends and I are at dinner at Mandarette Chinese Cafe on Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles. My friend Tim Thorney really wanted me to meet this girl from Toronto who he told me is so talented she would blow my mind. Sitting next to me is the new talent, she has just made a new album and is shopping to see which label she will eventually go with. She tells me of all the people she has met so far in Los Angeles she really likes Madonna. She feels that Madonna will let creativity flourish and that is important to any artist.
This singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actress, is Alanis Morissette, her new album is called Jagged Little Pill. I tell Alanis, that I am very excited to hear her new album, and that I am working on creating a record label, hopefully called Fox records. If it all comes through in a timely manner, then she should sign with us, it will be headed by David Bowie as a creative director and it is very important to us that this label be creative, use all the platforms to deliver music currently available including computer games, and be fair and equitable for the artist. How did this even start you ask? This is another Bowie story.
It seems very strange to be writing this blog post on the very day that Rupert Murdoch announced that he is engaged to Jerry Hall.
Iman and I just stand in the corner, we are both very shy, and not at all like Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall, those two work the room and are so outgoing – David Bowie
Bowie and I over dinner one night while Iman was at her acting class, the only night you could hang with Bowie. He and I talked about and then decided we would create a record label. He brings the creative element and I would bring money to the table and why not also involve the Benetton’s at the time my friend Carlo Tunioli was Executive Vice President of Benetton USA and we could use their innovative marketing, for the label and create Fox Records as I had a film deal already in place with 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and all this would be vertical integration for News Corporation. Bowie enlightened me on where he was with his new album Black Tie White Noise which he was recording at the time.
The next day Bowie popped over and was standing in my living room with a handful of CD’s he wanted me to listen to see what I thought and these could be the start of few bands we could sign onto our label. Some I had never heard of, there was no YouTube in those days so you had to really hunt for new upcoming bands, and Bowie had his fingers on the pulse, he was always searching.
Bowie’s people had started the meeting with 20th Century, some from his team such as Robert Goodale had joined my film venture, adding a nice mix. Film project that went to Bowie would now end up at our production company. Bill Zysblat of RZO production who looked after (Madonna, U2, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie) was on standby for 20th Century Fox. Bowie had by now compleated the album Black Tie White Noise and it was on hold, Bill Zysblat wanted a record deal but could not wait any longer and was asking, is this gonna happen or not. Bill Mechanic who at the time was running 20th Century Fox was telling me ” I don’t have time to run a record label, I am running a film studio and I don’t have anyone to run a record label”, this made me fly off the handle and say, “do you even know who David Bowie is? You don’t have to have anyone at the studio to run the label, Bowie can pick up the phone and call anyone in the world he knows everyone, are you in or are you out?”. I would soon learn from Gus Fisher the Chief Operating Officer of News Corporation in a telephone conversation that Rupert Murdoch had decided that he did not want to be in the music business. David Bowie’s new album had to be released and so Bill Zysblat did a deal with Virgin Records for Black Tie White Noise.
So what came out of this process?
As Bowie was leaving my living room, I stopped him. “David I need to show you somethings that Benetton are doing just look at it”. I went and grabbed all the posters and books that Carlo had sent me from Benetton.
Look at these David, not one single image has a Benetton sweater, because Luciano Benetton does not care he just wants to create shocking images to wake those people on the streets who are sleep walking, and shake them up, but looks, it’s gays, black with white, refugees, hungry people in these posters – I tell Bowie
David Bowie looks at these images for a while. His head starts to shake, side to side. His mouth moves but no words are coming out just his lips are moving. He is focused, he is creating. Some magic is about to happen, I can feel it. He looks up at me. This is what he came up with.
Getting my facts from the Benetton ads
I’ve always enjoyed Bowie on saxophone so here from Blackstar is Dollar Days, enjoy music he left us before he went to heaven. More stories to come.