David Bowie was attacked by rock star after making snide request
David Bowie performs Let's Dance on US TV in 2002
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Today, on Channel 5 at 3:45pm, David Bowie stars in the iconic 1986 Jim Henson film Labyrinth. In the children’s fairy tale movie, the Starman plays a demonic rockstar known as Jareth, the king of the goblins.
Long before Bowie was on his way to becoming a cult film icon, however, he was a sought-after music producer. And one request over dinner about his skills got out of hand.
In the late 1970s, Bowie had dinner with former Velvet Underground star Lou Reed. The musician had since struck out on his own and produced a collection of solo albums.
Bowie and Reed were getting on famously. Bowie loved Reed’s legacy and the music he had been releasing recently, while Reed enjoyed Bowie’s futuristic and contemporary sounds. So then, it didn’t take long for them to spark up a conversation about working together.
Reed asked Bowie if he would help him produce his upcoming ninth album, The Bells. But there was one problem.
At the time, Reed was renowned for partying quite a lot. This meant he was out drinking and causing trouble in the public eye. And Bowie wasn’t a fan of it.
Reed’s guitarist Chuck Hammer recalled the dinner that went wrong on that fateful night.
“As a guitarist in the Lou Reed band at that time,” Hammer remembered. “I was actually sitting next to both David and Lou at dinner when this exchange took pace, I can tell you exactly what transpired verbally.”
Reed had been chatting about his new music which had not yet been recorded when he popped the question. Hammer said: “Lou asked David if he would be interested in producing the record and David replied yes.” But Bowie had a request for Reed.
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Hammer remembered Bowie’s request: “Stop drinking and clean up your act.” Naturally, this didn’t go well for Bowie.
Hammer said: “And upon that reply … chaos ensued.” Reed reportedly launched himself across the dinner table and attacked Bowie, hitting him in the face and erupting the table into disarray.
A number of people jumped on the brawling rockers and dragged Reed away from the situation. He was supposedly ejected from the restaurant and sent back to his hotel.
Later on, Bowie and the rest of the band returned to the hotel they were all staying at where he continued to spur his pal on.
Hammer remembered: “It should be noted that this verbal bantering also continued into the night back at the hotel.” Bowie found himself standing in the hotel hallway outside Reed’s room shouting at him.
Bowie was screaming at Reed: “Come out and fight like a man!” But Hammer wasn’t convinced Reed ever heard him.
Hammer said: “Eventually it all quieted down as Lou never reappeared to continue the fight, and was most likely already fast asleep.”
Despite this, Bowie and Reed made up later on. But things didn’t go how Reed wanted.
Bowie never worked with Reed on his ninth album, The Bells. Instead, he collaborated with his long-time professional colleague Nils Lofgren.
Instead, Bowie brought Hammer onto his musical team. He provided guitars for the star’s 14th album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).
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