Tuesday, July 09, 2019


My high school (in Golden, Colorado) had a radio station that was piped around the school and also had a low wattage over-the-air signal, which you could get for a few miles north or south, since east and west there were mountains blocking the signal (it was under whatever wattage limit the FCC had on that kind of thing). There was a core of 4 or 5 of us involved with the station. I can write more in the future about what I myself played on my shows, but that's not relevant here since this story is not about me. One thing we all agreed on, though, was that Bowie's PINUPS sucked. I didn't like much Bowie until DIAMOND DOGSand then the LOW/HEROES period through SCARY MONSTERS. I was always one of those people who felt that Bowie was an artistic inferior to people like Lou and Iggy----they were the real thing, while Bowie was to me an art-school APPLICATION/INTERPRETATION of their original ideas, a kind of artistic vampire who fed off the blood of the living.

In hindsight, PINUPS is not that bad, and it allowed Bowie to (in his own words) "shake off" his insufferable early 70's persona, by going back to his mid-60s roots (and Bowie himself made some great singles in the 64-66 period, though I had not yet heard them circa 1974) and led to his first listenable album (IMHO), DIAMOND DOGS. Back then, though, I did not have the detachment to recognize that: Bowie sucked, this was Bowie with all his pretentious mannerisms even though the material was not his usual fare, so by that logic, IT sucked too.

One day, over the lunch hour I was hanging out at the station, as I usually did during my free periods, when one of the other DJ's was broadcasting (Steve V.----who I hope is out there somewhere and doing well). Steve took PINUPS and dragged the needle across it back and forth, WHILE ON THE AIR. The 4 or 5 of us with him in the studio observed it as it happened and laughed and cheered him on. He then put something else on the other turntable, which then aired….I remember him being into Blue Oyster Cult, so maybe he put something by them on….took the scratched copy of PINUPS and put it on a chair and said, "I should take a shit on this piece of shit." We assumed he was speaking metaphorically, and went back to talking with each other, with a few of the crew still eating their cafeteria lunch, that day the infamous “mock filet,” a greyish patty that, to put it mildly, was very much “extended” with some kind of filler, and no one ever figured out what kind of meat, if any, was a part of it and what kind of filler it used—soy, oatmeal, sawdust, who knows.

Then, about 30 seconds later, Steve pulled down his jeans (this broadcast room was about 12' x 12', so we were all right in the midst of the action, including those eating lunch), straddled over the chair, and literally took a shit on the record, a long, thin, firm turd the size of a tube of breakfast chorizo.

He then pulled his pants up (no time for wiping….and in case you’re wondering, he wasn’t wearing underwear), grabbed the LP from the bottom, spread open the cover with his other hand, and put the disc and the hunk of shit in the cover. Once it was in, he pressed the cover on the top, presumably spreading the fecal matter over the album. Without missing a beat, he took the album cover, put it into a supermarket bag which happened to be laying around, opened the studio door, which led out to the school’s main hall, about four doors down from the principal’s office, and threw the bag into one of those round metal wastebaskets seen in school halls and classrooms.

I don’t know that any of us reacted more than laughing at this spectacle, and Steve went on to play more records during his DJ shift, which probably included a chunk of Zappa as I remember his tastes, and I went on to my 1 pm class.

Fortunately, Bowie went on to make albums like LOW, HEROES, LODGER, and SCARY MONSTERS, and I never really gave a second thought to PINUPS until I saw that Chris reviewed the single from the album in his recent SINGLES GOING STROONADIER THAN THEY’VE EVER BEEN column, and I thought I’d share this 45 year old story of a friend’s “review” of the Bowie PINUPS album. It’s a “review” one is unlikely to forget anytime soon….

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