The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Jamming Good: Spiders Drummer Woody Woodmansey's Favourite Bowie Moments
Valerie Siebert , February 22nd, 2017 09:50

During the earthly sojourn of Ziggy Stardust, Woody Woodmansey laid down the rhythm for David Bowie's mercurial backing band The Spiders From Mars. Here he talks Valerie Siebert through his 13 favourite Bowie tracks, sharing personal memories of how they were made along the way.


'Changes' was a strange one, because it always felt a little bit jazzy, a touch of cabaret, so it was tough to find how to play it. For me as a drummer I went for less-is-more. It meets the minimum beat, I had to play it in a way that doesn't force the listener to have to pay attention to the beat or think about the stops. It just needed backing up, that's all it needed. I even tried putting little drum rolls on it here and there, but then listened and thought: 'Nah! It doesn't work!' It sounded like being flashy for the sake of it. Just showing off. That stops the flow of the song. So, I decided to just keep it simple. That one got a hell of a lot of plays on the radio but it didn't actually sell. It was a big disappointment, because we thought it would. It wasn't until years later that It took off. 'Changes' seemed to sum him up, because basically at that time the attitude was that we will do what we have to do to make it, whatever changes we would have to adapt to, whatever things we have to do to get attention onto the band, we would do it! So, it was kind of an anthem for the band. A statement.