Rolling Stone interviewed David Bowie producer Tony Visconti, who shed some interesting (and sad) details about Bowie’s final months. The most interesting tidbit is that a week before his death, Bowie called Visconti telling him he had written and demoed five new songs, and wanted to get back to the studio to make another album. Bowie had known since November that his cancer was terminal, but kept working and – according to Visconti – thought he still had several more months left.
Sadly, the disease had other plans. Bowie’s condition presumably deteriorated very quickly after his final conversation with Visconti. The only similar precedent that comes to mind is how Queen dealt with Freddie Mercury’s illness the final years of his life by continuing to write and record new material. Based on this analogy, Blackstar is Bowie’s Innuendo – the final studio album Queen recorded with Mercury during his lifetime. That album is the sound of a band that knows they are running out of time, and the subject of Mercury’s mortality is tackled head on in the lyrics.
The question not asked in the Rolling Stone article: will these final demos see the light of day at some point or another? And another bigger question: how many demos and unreleased recordings did Bowie have in his vault, and what – if anything – will become of them?