Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer and keyboardist of the 1970s new wave band Devo, claims to have collaborated with the late and great David Bowie.
At an event hosted by Sonos at its Soho location in Manhattan, New York earlier this month, Mothersbaugh recalled how one night in the summer of 1977 when Bowie apparently approached Devo after a set at Max’s Kansas City: “David Bowie came up and he said, ‘I’d like to produce you guys.’ And we said, ‘Well, we don’t have a record deal.’ And he said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’ll pay for it.’”
Apparently keen to show Mothersbaugh that he was serious about his proposal, Bowie “came out on stage when we played our second show at Max’s that night,” Mothersbaugh said. “He came out on stage and goes, ‘This is the band of the future, I’m going to produce them this Christmas in Tokyo!’ And we’re all like, ‘Sounds great to us. We’re sleeping in an Econoline van out in front on Bowery tonight, on top of our equipment.”
Further explaining the collaboration, Mothersbaugh revealed how the band flew to Cologne to record in Conny Plank’s studio: “Devo jammed with David Bowie, Brian Eno, Holger Czukay [of Can], and a couple of other odd Germans that were electronic musicians that happened to be hanging out there.”
Then, out of nowhere, Mothersbaugh revealed how he had found a recording of the session while cleaning out his studio: “I haven’t listened to it yet because I just found this tape,” he said before adding: “There are these tracks down below that say things like: ‘David’s vocals’ and ‘Brian’s extra synths.’ And I’m like, ‘I remember turning that stuff off when we were doing our final mixes.’”
The big question is though, will we ever get to listen? “I’m thinking we should see what’s on those tapes,” Mothersbaugh said, adding, “I’m really curious to see what the heck they did.”