David Bowie quietly put out his first album in ten years on Tuesday. The Next Day sold about 90,000 copies in its first week of release which might give Bowie the first number one album of his career. All this in spite of Bowie not doing any interviews or performances to promote the album. The one time master of publicity whose constant reinvention and ability to manipulate the media taught Madonna and Lady Gaga a thing or two about how to drum up interest in their celebrity seemed to be taking a new tack.
While every other musician is on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Saturday Night Live, Sesame Street, and any other platform that will have them, Bowie has been eerily silent.
Adding to this, his producers and musical collaborators said he would never perform in concert again. Many speculated Bowie's silence was due to him being in poor health. Others hoped the one time Ziggy Stardust-Aladdin Sane-Thin White Duke had taken up a new persona, that of the Howard Hughesian recluse.
According to an interview with Bowie's wife Iman with fashion magazine, Grazia, the answer might be none of the above. Talking about her family she says, "We have a 12 year old in school, so we are stuck, we can't travel. Our schedule is around her, so I don't know. We'll have to go visit him, but we won't be on tour with him because she's in school."
On tour with him!?
The media savvy Bowie knows being different is what gets you attention. In the seventies, that meant wearing make-up, touting bisexuality, and claiming to be from Mars. In the 2010s standing out means keeping quiet. Whereas once David Bowie was a screamer, he is now a whisperer leaving his fans reading fashion magazines to find clues about when he might perform again.