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

Martian Drummer unravels web of intrigue

Woody Woodmansey Spider From Mars: My Life With Bowie book cover

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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.

Ian Fortnam

Classic Rock’s Reviews Editor for the last 20 years, Ian stapled his first fanzine in 1977. Since misspending his youth by way of ‘research’ his work has also appeared in such publications as Metal Hammer, Prog, NME, Uncut, Kerrang!, VOX, The Face, The Guardian, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Electronic Sound, Record Collector and across the internet. Permanently buried under mountains of recorded media, ears ringing from a lifetime of gigs, he enjoys nothing more than recreationally throttling a guitar and following a baptism of punk fire has played in bands for 45 years, releasing recordings via Esoteric Antenna and Cleopatra Records.