Conversation Piece

With a baroque pop styling and a symphonic flair, North Atlantic Explorers cover David Bowie’s 1969 song, Conversation Piece.  It’s highlighted by an amazing piano performance by Mark Critchley, who had conversations about playing in Bowie’s band.

Released: June 21, 2024

Listen/Buy on Bandcamp

In deciding how to approach covering this 1969 David Bowie song, I immediately thought of, and reached out to Mark Critchley, whose eccentric piano-driven punk band, Itch, I played drums with many years ago.

Mark is a spectacular pianist and I was privileged to witness his awe-inspiring playing every night on tour.  But he’s also a big Bowie fan and has some interesting connections to the legendary musician.

Notably, Mark had conversations with Bowie band member Roy Young (who performed with, and was offered, but turned down a spot in The Beatles) about joining Bowie’s band.  Mark had a vacation booked to Maui where Bowie happened to be at the time.  Young told Mark to call him on his arrival in Maui and he’d forward Bowie’s phone number.  Unfortunately, this never transpired – Mark ended up bailing on the trip because of a girl.

My own most nostalgic Bowie memory was when he played three Vancouver shows on the Serious Moonlight Tour, one of which was filmed and released as a live concert DVD.  Though I was too young to attend, I recall them being highly anticipated events and I have etched memories of many pages devoted to the concerts in the local newspaper, with full-colour pics of Bowie with his bleach-blonde hair and powder-blue suit.

I’ve always had great admiration for David Bowie and his many styles and personas.  My all-time fave Bowie record is 1977’s Young Americans, but his final haunting Blackstar album (and the way it was secretly recorded as he was terminally ill without even longtime producer Tony Visconti knowing the songs were premonitions of his death, and then released in dramatic fashion only two days before his passing) never fails to give me chills.