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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

David Bowie's Rejected Proposals for New Rock n' Roll Alter Egos


RCA Records
February 21st, 1980
Ron Fair, Senior Director of A&R

Dear Ron:

For the upcoming Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) release, I thought I would suggest trying on another character again. I realize this might not be the best idea after the fiasco with the Thin White Duke, but I think coming back with a more positive and strong image would redeem everything with the press.

Name: Pierre Gremaud—1970s Parochial School Perfect Attendance Zeitgeist
Backstory: On September 1st, 1970, after almost a year of suffering from a bout with tuberculosis that kept him in and out of school, Pierre Gremaud resolves that he will never miss another day at St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Academy ever again. For most of the decade not even a battle with the measles (where he loses eyesight in one eye) can stop him. However, his dreams come to an abrupt halt on June 5th, 1979, when a fellow perfect attendance contender who builds a mammoth trebuchet, kidnaps Pierre and launches him twenty miles outside of town before the last day of school. Upon landing, Pierre realizes he wasted the last several years of his youth trying to obtain the wrong goals and the only possible thing left for him to do is dedicate himself to the most erratic lifestyle possible—Rock Star.

At shows, I would don a school uniform, eye patch, and a live Arctic loon named Mr. Sinister on my left shoulder.

Please let me know what you think at your earliest convenience.


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EMI America Records
January 15th, 1987
Don Grierson, Senior Director of A&R

Dear Don:

Here is my idea regarding my new persona that we briefly discussed over the phone a few weeks ago for the upcoming album Never Let me Down. As suggested, I tried to keep it as far away from German influence as possible. RCA did not quite enjoy what I had to offer during my last character venture, but I feel genuinely good about this one. I hope you will too. If not, I’ll reconsider the “Glass Spider” idea.

Name: Mullet Gatawney
Backstory: A young Indian man named Ashank Patel grows up in Rajasthan with dreams of becoming the next Hulk Hogan. When turning 18, instead of taking over his father’s jute crops, he leaves his country and moves to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to jump start his wrestling career. There he meets a retired coal miner named O’Doul who trains and eventually christens him as Mullet Gatawney. After years of disappointment on the amateur circuit, Ashank decides in the middle of his match with the infamous Ring Worm, to give up and go back to India. Still donning his Nehru jacket and denim cut-offs from the match, he meanders into a local pub, where a Sinatra tribute band called Let’s Be Frank is playing onstage. Most of the other patrons seem disgusted with the performers and during “Girl From Ipanema” scream “Freebird” until the band concedes. Never having heard the classic rock anthem, Ashank—filled with drink and ecstasy—drops to his knees in tears and immediately decides that all of his past failures have led up to this one single inspirational moment where he will now rechristen himself as Mullet Gatawney: Rock Star!

On what will be called the Nonwoven Textile Tour, I will be known to body slam fans and pile-drive journalists.

I think if we intend to go all the way with this, maybe with some coaxing Iggy Pop might portray O’Doul. Let me know what you think.


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Savage Records
January 21st, 1993
Jill Siegel, Director of A&R

Dear Jill:

While I have had several failures in the past with other labels regarding this matter, I have come upon a rather enthralling idea for an alternate persona for the upcoming Black Tie White Noise album release and subsequent tour. I realize the following will be quite a stretch from the album’s contents, but I think we can really reach a wider audience with this.

Name: The Fortean Frontman
Backstory: A 17th-century cryptozoologist named Ivan Di Francis steps in a time machine intending to travel to the year 1865 to check the conditions of the supposedly mythological Norwegian Zexmound (a small bipedal creature with six opposable toes). Accidentally pulling the wrong lever, Ivan ends up in 1992 at a Guns ‘N Roses concert in Minnesota. Disoriented by his change in surroundings, he mistakes Slash for the infamous Chupacabra and head-rushes the stage in excitement. The next thing he knows he is in a hospital bed with several fractured bones and the words “Don’t fuck with Axl” scrawled across his forehead in permanent black marker. There he discovers his only recourse is to get better and begin a new career expanding the limited mindsets of the masses through their only understandable medium: Rock n’ Roll.

Naturally, there would be an enormous time machine of sorts involved on the tour. And I was also thinking that perhaps maybe if we can talk to G N’R’s manager, we can negotiate a dual headliner.



P.S. Al B. Sure! said he’d dress up in a Sasquatch costume for any shows where we perform the titular duet.

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Iso Records
February 24th, 2002
Tony Visconti, Co-producer

Dear Tony,

Iman and I are thoroughly enjoying the Azores. We went on a guided excursion to Sete Cidades yesterday, which was absolutely breathtaking. You should definitely vacation here when you get the chance.

Anyway, on the ride to Sete Cidades, I began contemplating the upcoming release of Heathen and realized how much I would really like to portray some sort of character this time. After years of bitter rejection from the other labels, I finally own my own and should be able to do whatever I want. I do, however, strongly value your opinion and wouldn’t want to go forward with something you are uncomfortable with.

Name: Fountainhead Jones, Objectivist Extraordinaire
Backstory: Alvin Rosenswieg’s chief goal in life was to proselytize Jews into believing that Jesus Christ was, in fact, the messiah. Handing out pamphlets on the corners of 86th and Lexington every day for the last seven years, he really believed that he was fulfilling a duty enlightening the Jew populace of New York that they only need to change one significant thought and they too could be saved like everyone else in the Christian world.

While journeying back to the subway after a tiring day of work, Alvin finds himself star struck when he spots Jackie Mason leaving a local café. After following the man for several blocks begging him to take a pamphlet, the comedian suddenly without warning, takes a very large book out of his satchel and hurls it straight at the campaigner’s head, knocking him out cold. Upon waking, a mildly concussed Alvin finds that the book that was once used as a weapon is placed on his chest with a Post-it that states: “This will change your life—Jackie.”

The young man reads Atlas Shrugged twelve times and recognizes that living his life in the name of a silly historical figure was for naught. So with an old childhood dream, and a few new tenets of living, Alvin emerges with a guitar and solid yellow unitard, as Fountainhead Jones: Objectivist Extraordinaire!

I was thinking that to convey the painful duality of his past, there could be some sort of Fiddler on the Roof/Jesus Christ Superstar medley, which will ultimately lead into “Slow Burn” as an opener at shows.

Too much?

Let me know.


P.S. Have you read Ayn Rand? I just discovered her three weeks ago. Brilliant!

Libby Leonard's work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency and The Apiary. She is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in playwriting at Columbia University.