Dexys singer Kevin Rowland called David Bowie a "bad copy of Bryan Ferry" and still regrets it
21 June 2023, 16:23
Listen to this article
If David Bowie was one thing, it was original.
Admitting he collected and collaged aspects of art, theatre, and various forms of music into his craft, his impact on popular culture as a musician is incomparable.
His chameleonic approach to creating characters to visually support what music he was making at the time was ground-breaking.
It's commonplace for artists to reinvent themselves for each new album they write, but it would've been considered career suicide had not David Bowie paved the way.
So, you could understand Bowie himself taking umbrage to being referred to as a "pale imitation of Bryan Ferry".
- How the Bee Gees inspired David Bowie’s breakthrough hit ‘Space Oddity’
- Remembering Marc Bolan's duet with David Bowie in final performance before his tragic death only days later
- 10 inspirational quotes from David Bowie
- 'Come on Eileen' by Dexys Midnight Runners: The making of the 1980s pop classic
Both Bowie and Roxy Music frontman Bryan came to prominence at the same time during the glam rock era of the early 1970s, but they couldn't be any different.
Not according to Dexys' (former Dexy's Midnight Runners) singer Kevin Rowland, who slated the music legend during a show back in the early 1980s.
Though his outburst may've only been an off-the-cuff reaction, Rowland still regrets it to this day.
Reflecting on the incident in the new interview with NME, Rowland recalled the on-stage rant which took place in 1983.
Dexy's Midnight Runners were supporting Bowie in France, and Kevin blasted the "rude" audience saying that headliner Bowie was "full of shit" and a "bad copy of Bryan Ferry".
He admits he was barely functioning whilst being on "strong sleeping tablets" at the time, and the audience struck a nerve as they kept chanting David Bowie's name throughout their support slot.
Kevin Rowland remembered: "So I went up to them and said something along the lines of: 'You’re sitting in a fucking field all day in a load of mud waiting for fucking David Bowie! He’s just a pale imitation of Bryan Ferry!'"
"As we went to start the next song, the plugs were pulled. Bowie had been at the back of the stage and heard it."
"We were supposed to do two nights, but they didn’t want us back for the second," he added.
The band weren't even halfway through their set, but the outburst pushed Bowie to pull their set which put an end to the show.
Kevin Rowland admits to having huge regrets over the incident, as he was an admirer of David's, but wasn't in a great frame of mind.
Years later he wrote to Bowie in an attempt to make amends, but it wasn't met with any correspondence.
"Apparently Bowie was really upset about it. Many years later when I got into recovery from cocaine addiction, I wrote him a letter apologising, to make amends, and said if he ever wanted to talk about it, please contact me."
"I know he got the letter, but I didn’t hear back. But that’s OK", understanding that it may've been an outburst too far.
I guess bygones won't always be bygones in the world of rock 'n' roll music - maybe it's an idea not to slate the artist you're supporting on tour, especially if he happens to be one of the world's most respected and historic adored musicians of all time.
Kevin Rowland was speaking with the NME as he's promoting Dexys' new single 'Coming Home' - listen below:
Dexys - Coming Home (Official Audio)