The Lowdown with Holy Holy
Posted 8th January 2019
We catch up with Woody Woodmansey and Tony Visconti ahead of their February gig.
This is the band’s first time at The London Palladium.
Woody Woodmandsey: “It’s such an iconic venue. People still go ‘wow’ when you tell them about the gig. It reminds me of watching Saturday Night at The London Palladium. Good memories.”
Tony Visconti: “Even though I was born in Brooklyn and raised in New York City, The London Palladium was known to me as an iconic venue. Ed Sullivan would often announce a performer on his show as just returning from performing at The London Palladium. When I started playing professionally in New York, I never dreamed I’d ever play the Palladium. That was for people like Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. Needless to say I’m gobsmacked to be able to perform there in February.”
2019 marks 50 years since David Bowie released Space Oddity.
WW: “He was one of the best, a cut above the rest as a performer and especially as a songwriter. He had an amazing ability to communicate often obscure ideas, but they always had that special something that made them impinge on the listener and never be boring.”
TV: “Like The Beatles, David was a very successful rule breaker. His style of writing had more depth than his contemporaries and he wrote one of the best songs in the British songbook, not only Space Oddity (which is a great song) but Life On Mars. Before every new album release, the public and members of the music industry would scratch their heads asking, ‘What is he going to spring on us next?’ He even wrote a song for the Young American sessions called Who Can I Be Now?”
Picking from Bowie’s extensive back catalogue is a hard task for anyone.
WW: “My favourites to play are probably Moonage Daydeam and Five Years.”
TV: “My favourite song is the opening of The Man Who Sold The World album, The Width Of A Circle. Woody, Mick Ronson and I all had a hand in writing that arrangement which would be considered co-writing the song by today’s credit standards. It is a masterpiece, a work of art, much more than just a song. It’s a seven minute mini-suite. We open our show with that. I wish we could also play it again at the end of the show after we’re all warmed up.”
For the show, Heaven 17’s Glenn Gregory joins Woodmansey and Visconti on vocal duties.
WW: “Tony suggested him. ‘Get Glenn Gregory he’ll kill it,’ he said. David himself said that it’s nice to hear someone singing those songs like I intended them.”
TV: “I mixed an album for the Dutch composer Stephen Emmer. He used three or four British singers that included Glenn Gregory. He was my favourite singer in the batch, with his rich baritone voice and almost Sinatra-type interpretation of the lyrics. He was so the ‘real deal.’ I knew almost nothing about Heaven 17. When Woody and I were discussing singers who didn’t dye their hair red, weighed 9 stone and imitated Bowie’s voice and movements, which Bowie tribute bands had been doing, I pushed Glenn to the front of the queue. I knew he could sing Bowie’s songs with a new interpretation, his own way, with just a whiff of Bowie. And we can all agree he doesn’t look even remotely like Bowie. I knew it would be tough for Glenn to stand in front of die hard Bowie fans for the first time but after the singing the first song he won their hearts. I am so happy Glenn is our front man.”
What to expect from a Holy Holy show? The band describe it in three words…
WW: “An amazing night.”
TV: “Celebratory Love Fest.”