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Woody Woodmansey, photo: Stephanie Rushton

Culture Now: Woody Woodmansey

31 Aug 2012

To coincide with Bowiefest, the first ever Bowie Film Festival celebrating 40 years of David Bowie’s work in film, Culture Now introduces Tom Wilcox in conversation with Woody Woodmansey – drummer from David Bowie’s legendary band the Spiders from Mars in a talk that will explore the artistic processes that created Ziggy Stardust, and assess its cultural impact.

After initially joining Hull based band The Rats, Woodmansey received a phone call from David Bowie inviting him to join his band. Originating as The Hype, the band later became better known as the Spiders from Mars. It was under this guise that the band released their hit single Starman and produced the landmark conceptual album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Launching Bowie’s androgynous fictional character - Ziggy Stardust - into the spotlight, this became a pinnacle point in both their careers with Woodmansey’s distinctive drumming style helping to define the sound. This year marks the album’s 40th anniversary and consequently, is an opportune moment to reflect upon the band’s heyday, celebrating their success through these cultural events.

In addition to touring extensively with Bowie and also appearing on the much acclaimed albums The Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory and Aladdin Sane, Woodmansey has worked with Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Paul McCartney, Art Garfunkel, Joe Elliott and Gillian Glover. Pursuing his own projects, his albums have included an eponymous album after Bowie from the Spiders From Mars, followed by Woody Woodmansey’s U-Boat in 1977 and Future Primitive by 3-D in 2007.

Tom Wilcox is a Director of the ICA, and a Partner at Counterculture; an arts consultancy practice. He was previously Managing Director of Whitechapel Gallery for almost seven years during the gallery’s major expansion which was completed in 2009. As a musician, Tom achieved the coveted single of the week accolade in Kerrang! magazine with his band Maniac Squat. He has also released records with The Chavs, with Gillian Glover and Maggi Ronson as a producer, and has composed music for television. 

With thanks to Maryam and Edward Eisler.

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