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Tracing My Dad Vol. 10, Tony Visconti discusses Dennis Davis and David Bowie • Part 2 [76/77]

April 6th, 2019 | by admin

Tracing My Dad • Vol. 10 • Tony Visconti discusses Dennis Davis and David Bowie • Part 2 [76/77]

The HD Projects presents, the second in a series of four interview videos, with world-famous music producer Tony Visconti, talking about drummer Dennis Davis.

The interview took place in New York City in 2018. Tony provided a lot of information and insight into the music he and David Bowie made, and the times they shared with Dennis Davis.

Each video focuses on a specific phase of Tony’s work with Bowie and Dennis. This one focuses on David Bowie’s 1977 album, Low. The album is considered groundbreaking. The D.A.M. Trio – Dennis Davis, Carlos Alomar, and George Murray – jamming with Bowie and Tony Visconti, was the starting point for much of the material. Dennis Davis drumming, and the innovative use of early pitch-shift studio technology on his drums, would become one of the prominent features of the album.

A personal note from Hikaru Davis
Today is the 3rd anniversary of my Dad’s death. I miss him everyday.
I dedicate this video to my Dad, Dennis Davis.
Huge thanks to Mr. Tony Visconti, I still can’t believe you did this for me. This video will always be my treasure.
And to my video partner, Nacho, thank you for helping me make this video so cool, and being my friend.

Dear Dad,

How are you doing in heaven? Did you get to see your mom, dad & your brother?
Do you have friends there? I hope you can see me now. I’m a lot taller.
I’m 13 years old. I live in Japan now, not the apartment we used to live in New York.
I wish we could live there together again.
Mom is doing well. She is trying everyday. Herbie is doing great. He is still with us. But I think he misses you so much.

I started filming videos about you. I talk to your friends and colleagues. They miss you too.
I learned so much about when you were young. I didn’t know much about you.
I was always proud of you. But whoa, I’m so impressed. I am so lucky to be able to listen to your drum sounds. It is my pride. I hope I have your excellence in me.
Please show up in my dream sometime.
Until then.

Love you, Dad.

Your little booger,

A note from Nacho
This was the point in Hikaru’s interview with Tony Visconti, where things got really interesting for me. The obvious reason for that of course, is that Low is such a brilliant and intriguing album. But also because Hikaru asked the right questions, and got some great answers. For the serious student of The D.A.M. Trio and Low, there are perhaps no particularly new revelations here. However, Tony gives some wonderful comprehensive explanations.
Different possible ways to make this film offered themselves up. Hikaru being somewhat baffled by the technical information and the song references gave me a clue how to proceed. Also, I came to like the idea of representing the contrasts involved in making Low – three funky New York musicians relocating to a Château in the French countryside for a few weeks, to make edgy futuristic music with three characters like Bowie, Visconti and Eno – the unique combination of people and talents coming together for the first time – new music, new careers, in a new town.
As usual with these projects, there was virtually no footage available. Things were made even more difficult in this case, because there are almost no photos from the era, even of Bowie. As the pun on the album sleeve alluded to, this was a Low-profile period for Bowie. Between the end of the Station to Station tour in mid –’76, until the Idiot tour with Iggy Pop in Spring ’77, there were no videos, no public appearances and almost no photos that are in circulation. Bowie didn’t even want a new shot of himself on the cover of his new album. Still, I think this is an evocative document illustrating the very interesting way those guys f**ked with the fabric of time.
I’m very grateful to Paul D Millar for allowing me to use his Harmonizer H910 demonstration video, which could almost have been tailor-made for my film.


Dennis Davis passed away on April 6th, 2016. Hikaru is the youngest child of the late drummer. Hikaru interviews some of the great musicians and producers who have worked with his late father, as well as Dennis’s friends and family. Dennis Davis played with David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Roy Ayers, George Benson and many others. Hikaru hopes to learn how and why his father was one of the greatest drummers, and hear inspiring stories of his father through this tribute project.

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Use of the music and footage contained in this video does not imply any copyright ownership, and no infringement of rights is intended.

#DavidBowie #Low #TheDAMTrio #TonyVisconti #DennisDavis #CarlosAlomar #GeorgeMurray #BrianEno #Eventide #Harmonizer

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