From The Untold Story: Bowie/Rykodisc/Salem, a multimedia presentation by Jeff Rougvie at CinemaSalem in Salem, Massachusetts on May 12, 201

From The Untold Story: Bowie/Rykodisc/Salem, a multimedia presentation by Jeff Rougvie at CinemaSalem in Salem, Massachusetts on May 12, 2016.

Julie Stoller

Are you a fan of the late, great David Bowie? Would you like to learn more about his history, unreleased music and his work with maverick indie label Rykodisc? Jeff Rougvie, former Rykodisc executive and Bowie producer, has opened up his archives and unleashed his acerbic wit to give fans a fun and fascinating look behind the scenes of their 9-year relationship (1988-1997). His multimedia presentation examines Bowie’s career and provides an insider’s look at Ryko’s critically-acclaimed, digitally remastered series of the artist’s RCA album catalog. Boston’s own The Daily Pravda will perform lovingly recreated Bowie songs at the beginning and end of this special presentation. It takes place at the intimate Cape Ann Cinema & Stage in Gloucester, Massachusetts on Sunday, September 25th.

In the late 1980s, Rykodisc began their close collaboration with Bowie for their ambitious reissue series, from his 1969 Space Oddity (Man of Words/Man of Music) to 1980’s Scary Monsters. They began with the Grammy Award-winning Sound + Vision boxed set. This stunning 3-album compilation acted as an overview of the catalog and a taste of things to come from the seminal albums now entrusted into their care. Included were several tasty morsels for fans and collectors — previously unheard Bowie songs.

At a recent presentation in Salem, Massachusetts to a sold-out house, Rougvie delighted hardcore David Bowie fans and casual music buffs alike with his amazingly detailed information and witty anecdotes that provided rare insights into Bowie, the brilliant artist and savvy businessman, as well as the inner workings of the music industry at that time. He revealed information about Bowie’s secret vault of unreleased material (which Ryko wasn’t allowed access to) and showed never-before-seen master track listings from Trident Studios and Hansa Tonstudio, where Bowie created masterpieces like Ziggy Stardust, Low and Heroes. Hearing Rougvie relate his colorful stories about working with Bowie, RCA and other music business professionals while viewing notes and internal documents is to be a fly on the wall during those heady days at Rykodisc.

In this second presentation, after a brief history of Ryko to set the scene, the focus will be exclusively on David Bowie. The Daily Pravda will open and close the show (listen to them covering “Ziggy Stardust” on Bandcamp). Expect an informative Bowie history lesson, complete with photographs that even diehard fans may not have seen before, plus the details of their 1988-1997 partnership, from first contact to the final release. Rougvie will also talk about his meetings with Bowie and how the packages were put together and approved. He’ll discuss the influence of financial considerations on Bowie’s artistic decisions, which paint a clear picture of the artist as astute businessman. As Rougvie says, “People rarely discuss this with Bowie as if all his choices were purely artistic, but he clearly was smart about (money) too, and it was a big factor in decisions about touring, marketing, catalog, new records, etc., from the period he left (Tony) DeFries on.” Included in the presentation will be the original markup of a 25th anniversary 4-CD Ziggy Stardust box that Ryko proposed — and Bowie liked — but was sadly shelved because the term of their deal was ending.

This special Bowie presentation and live music performance takes place on Sunday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. at The Cape Ann Cinema & Stage, 21 Main Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts. For additional information, call (978) 226-3800. Purchase tickets at the cinema’s website. It’s a small venue with a homey feel (with couches!), so this event is very likely to sell out. Get your tickets today!