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Woody Woodmansey - Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie book review

Martian Drummer unravels web of intrigue

It’s unfortunate that Woody Woodmansey’s prolonged period of pioneering innovation alongside David Bowie, as drummer with the Spiders From Mars, is overshadowed by the nature of his dismissal. Forever associated with July 3, 1973 (when Bowie announced Ziggy and the Spiders’ ‘retirement’ from the stage of Hammersmith Odeon), Woody never scaled similar heights again, but he survived to tell his fascinating tale of life as a Spider.

Mick Woodmansey’s pre-Dave life spools by adequately before an unexpected call from Bowie drags him from steady employment to an uncertain future. In what initially appears to be a fair exchange, Woody, guitarist Mick Ronson and bassist Trevor Bolder teach Bowie how to rock (taking him from Space Oddity to The Man Who Sold The World in one fell, Tony Visconti-ed swoop), and he delivered them into stardom – just as he’d promised.

He also promised they’d be millionaires, but they weren’t. So Woody asked for a pay rise. Next stop Hammersmith. Obviously there’s more to it than that, so you’d better buy the book.