Brow Beat

Producer Tony Visconti on a Year Without David Bowie: “I’ve Been Through Every Stage of Grief”

A makeshift shrine to David Bowie in Brixton, London, on Jan. 11, 2016.

Carl Court/Getty Images

In an emotional Facebook post, producer Tony Visconti has shared his thoughts on the year since David Bowie’s death. Visconti, who produced Bowie’s final album, was one of few people who knew that Bowie was seriously ill, and in the post he reveals he’d signed a nondisclosure agreement prohibiting him from revealing any details about the recording of Blackstar, which would have included Bowie’s health. The day Bowie died, Visconti happened to be on tour with his band, Holy Holy, who were playing the Visconti-produced The Man Who Sold the World in its entirety live, and they had to decide whether to press on and play their final show or cut the tour short. “Considering our feelings and love for The Great Man, and the beautiful audience in Toronto who came for the first ecstatic night, there was only one right answer,” Visconti writes.

We played, but it was a very different show. Woody and I addressed the audience before we played and said we felt it was appropriate to celebrate our dear friend’s life together (rather than scatter to the four winds in our own private grief – that would come later, of course). Of course some of the audience couldn’t hold back the tears, but we the band and the audience were all there for each other.

Visconti describes the year since Bowie’s passing as “an emotional roller coaster,” but says he and Bowie knew that with Blackstar, they knew they were creating something that would last, “akin to making a Gothic cathedral.” “I’ve been through every stage of grief in the past 365 days, including anger,” Visconti concludes. “Of course, he never left us in spirit. We are fortunate to have lived in the same time as him. We’ve seen him, we’ve heard him sing and speak, we’ve hugged him, we’ve worshipped him and we are constantly reminded of him daily. He was a legend in his lifetime and he will be a legend until the end of time. But he was my friend too. I miss him dearly.”

Read Visconti’s entire note below, and watch video of him addressing the crowd on the night of that tragic, celebratory concert.

Read more in Slate about David Bowie.