Earl Slick tried to get David Bowie to tour one last time: “Don’t even think about it”

Bowie's long time guitarist couldn't coax him out of touring retirement

David Bowie‘s longtime guitarist Earl Slick has opened up about his last experiences of working with the rock icon before his death in 2016.

Slick, who first performed with Bowie in 1974, played on 2013’s ‘The Next Day‘, which was recorded under a veil of secrecy.

Speaking to The Guardian, Slick revealed how the icon made it immediately clear that there would be no tour to promote the record, which marked Bowie’s first album in a decade.


“We were sitting in the control room of the studio, listening to ‘(You Will) Set the World on Fire’, and David says: ‘Man, that track would be great live’,” said Slick.

“I looked at him, but before I could even answer, he goes: ‘Don’t even think about it.’”

Like many of Bowie’s close collaborators, Slick also had no idea that Bowie was battling cancer in the months before his death.

David Bowie
David Bowie performing in the 1970s. CREDIT: Pete Still/Redferns.

“We knew each other very well for a long time, but we didn’t get into each other’s personal shit. We were friends when we were working, but, in between, it wasn’t like we’d call each other up and go out for a cup of coffee or something,” he explained.

Their last exchange came when he sought permission to undertake a tour where he would play 1976’s ‘Station To Station’ in full.


“The last time I spoke to him was September or October 2015. I ran it past him, and he said: ‘Great idea, Slicky. Have fun.’”

Meanwhile, a painting by Bowie that was bought for just CAD$5 (£3) has fetched nearly CAD$108,120 (£63,115) at a recent auction.

The 1997 painting, which was put up for auction by Canadian fine arts seller and auctioneer Cowley Abbott president Rob Cowley, is part of a series of 47 paintings that Bowie had worked on between 1995 and 1997.