By Bruce Edwin
Welcome to the newly revised Hollywood Sentinel! This online magazine is a creation that we are very passionate about, as we are passionate of all of the arts in general. The Hollywood Sentinel is the only magazine on the planet that covers all areas of the arts, features ‘only’ the good news, is seen by every star in its pages, as well as many more of the world’s most powerful people, and is created by working professionals in the entertainment industry. It is also unique in that it infuses a spiritual message in the publication, something lacking in most other entertainment publications. And, it serves as a voice to fans, to those aspiring in Hollywood, as well as an insider tool for top, A-level VIP’s and moguls.
After nearly a decade online, we decided it was time to re-vamp our look, upload speed, and smart phone capabilities. We are pleased that this new design does the job, enabling us to now bring The Hollywood Sentinel to you not only every Monday, but at times, with even daily new content. So, visit us often, explore the site, check out the back issues, and tell your friends and loved ones to read us too. There is truly a wealth of information and creativity in these pages, and we promise you, it will keep getting better, and better. You can always contact us via the contact box on the site, and for those of you that want to really do something great for yourself or your business, you can call us at 310-226-7176 to discuss advertising. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the new issue!
I grew up listening to my Dad’s great record collection when I was a boy. At 6 years old, I was singing to The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Elvis, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Tommy James and the Shondelles, and the Everly Brothers among many more. By 8, I was picking out my own music, and by 12, I started building my own record collection which included Joan Jett, Queen, Styx, Rush, Billy Idol, The Police, and dozens more including a man named David Bowie. When I first heard Bowie, I was stunned. The first thing that struck me all at once was the power and quality of his voice, songwriting, musical composition, and production quality. I had never heard anything else at all like Bowie. The production value was amazing, his voice sounded like it was right there in the room with me. His vocals were miked higher than most other bands I’d heard, and even among the solo artists like Bob Dylan or Donovan, Bowie’s production team did something I had never quite heard before. He was definitely out of this world; The man from Mars, to quote Debbie Harry. A genius songwriter, better than most any in the world, and with a voice and look that was captivating; David Bowie was legendary.
By the time I was 15, I had gone from being what kids called a metal head, to a new waver, to a punk rocker. I still loved metal bands including Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Judas Priest, and more, and I still loved the so-called new wave bands like Blondie, Bananarama, Flock of Seagulls, Culture Club, and The Cure, but I had now officially been introduced to punk rock. The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Clash, The Ramones, The Dead Kennedy’s, Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and many more were my new favorites. Across all genres of music, David Bowie was loved. My metalhead friends loved Bowie and listened to him, marveling at his wild outfits and theatrical make up and great songs. The new wavers naturally idolized him for his brilliance and songs that led so many movements musically and in fashion, and the punk rockers loved and appreciated him as well.
I recall many un-official David Bowie parties where my crowd of punk rocker friends host for the nights or days party would entail playing many hours of non-stop David Bowie CD’s. When I would go to the dance clubs in Chicago including Medusa’s, and later Club 950, and Neo among more, I would always hit the dance floor–as did everyone else who danced, when Bowie’s ‘Little China Girl,’ ‘Ashes to Ashes,’ Space Oddity,’ ‘Ziggy Stardust,’ ‘Fashion,’ ‘Fame,’ ‘Blue Jean,’ ‘Rebel Rebel,’ or any other number of his great hits were played.
During my early punk years, I also made friends with a number cool black kids that also introduced me to early rap music. While I never became obsessed with rap like I did other genres, I liked a number of early rap artists, especially Public Enemy who I saw live several times. Even my rap friends loved Bowie. The mainstream pop crowd even liked Bowie, and although they and some of the rap crowd called him ‘weird,’ for having the guts to be one of the first male artists to wear make-up or wear a dress, they still liked him.
I loved music so much that I decided to start a music magazine which I called ‘subnormal,’ based on the college town of Normal, Illinois that I lived in for a number of years, and to describe a magazine that was definitely ‘not’ normal, featuring interviews with some of the bands listed above among many more. Having been called many insults during my early days as a punk rocker for how shocking I dressed, one of the entries of the word subnormal which also meant retarded, fit perfectly, to demonstrate an artistic and subcultural movement that could not be hurt or phased by even the worst of insults, similar to how some blacks later on began calling themselves the ‘n’ word. Like the punk rockers, and David Bowie himself, subnormal was un-insultable. We spoke our minds, and literally did not care what anyone thought or said. Like Bowie, subnormal wore its weirdness like a badge of honor, before it became trendy.
I remember how excited I was when David Bowie’s record label sent me some of his material, and an 8×10 glossy of David Bowie himself which I subsequently published. I was thrilled. I later decided to major in music in college, only later switching to film, as I realized it could include all of the arts within it including music, photography, writing, and even painting. David Bowie mastered nearly all areas of the arts; he sang, he wrote songs, he composed music, he danced, he acted, he wrote plays, he designed sets and costumes, he designed and wore fashion, and he made art as a painter.
People from every music scene out there loved David Bowie, and appreciated his artistic ingenuity, talent, brilliance, and greatness. He also collaborated with some of the other greatest artists of our time including The Rolling Stones, and Tina Turner, as well as from the punk scene including Sonic Youth, and Iggy Pop, and industrial rockers Nine Inch Nails among many, many more. I had the great pleasure to see David Bowie live when he toured one year with Nine Inch Nails and even performed some songs together with them. Trent Reznor was heavily influenced by Bowie, and reportedly asked him to do a tour together. Virgin Records kindly put me on the guest list. Bowie apologized that night for cutting the set short to about 90 minutes or less. He said he had a terrible cold and flu, and a sore throat. Yet he still sang, because, he said, he “didn’t want to cancel on us.” That was the kind of performer Bowie was. He loved his fans that much, and he was that kind. And if he hadn’t told us he was sick then, we would have never known, because he still sounded great.
David Bowie was light years ahead of his time, and still is. The world is still catching up with Bowie, and he influences artists across all genres in a myriad of ways. He gave me and countless others the strength to realize that an artist can be, do or have anything they want. An artist can wear anything they want, dress however they want, look however they want, and become anything they want, and that was their prerogative, and if someone else didn’t like it–too bad. Bowie gave hope to the hopeless, a voice to the voiceless, and a ray of light and celebration to anyone different, or yearning to be. David Bowie made being an outsider and rebel as cool as could be. And Bowie, unlike most any other, brought fashion, performance art, theatre, film, and more on to the stage, blending perfectly a multi-dimensional level of the arts like none before him. He realized that fashion itself was an art form, and more than most any performer of all time, made fashion an essential part of his persona. He even wrote a song called ‘Fashion,’ and married a fashion supermodel–Iman, which was shocking to many at the time, as Bowie was white, and she was black; yet another rebellious act that he didn’t just talk about, but lived. An actor, fashion icon, and musical great that made, broke, defined and defied genres, David Bowie made changes in music, the arts, and culture that will last forever. He was a true punk rocker; fearless, daring, and innovative, always pushing the edges.
The early morning when I clicked on the news and read that David Bowie had died, I was in a state of shock. I got tears in my eyes. Like other musicians I spoke with on the days that followed, they all felt like I did, that Bowie would be with us for ever, leading us all out of this life on Earth to the other side. I loved David Bowie’s work, and I am very sad that he is gone. A big piece of all of our global musical soul has been hit, and hurt since Bowie departed. I read that during his last months, he knew he was dying, but wanted to make his one last album for us, to leave to his fans, which he rushed to create and finished. That album, has since gone on to become his first #1 Album ever on the charts, giving his estate more sales at it’s debut than any of his other albums. I’m thankful I got to see his art exhibition that he personally put together, on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago just two years ago, which was amazing. I developed an even greater appreciation of Bowie after seeing that incredible show. There will never be another David Bowie. He stands at the very top of the greatest icons, performers, songwriters, and singers in all of the world, for all time. David Bowie, thank you for gracing us all with your brilliance and your art. You were and are– an amazing man.
This content © 2016, Bruce Edwin, The Hollywood Sentinel, all world rights reserved. subnormal magazine