Photo courtesy KL Management.

Slick discusses working with Bowie for most of his adult life, what to expect from a Bowie album, and what gear he''s digging on at the moment.

A new David Bowie album is always a big deal, but especially when it comes 10 years after the last one. On January 8, 2013, Bowie announced he'd recorded a whole new album, in secret, for release in March. A couple of months earlier, UK paper The Telegraph ran an article which speculated—but really just flat out stated—that Bowie had retired from music altogether. At that point The Next Day was all but finished. It's an album of classic Bowie in the Scary Monsters/"Heroes" mold, with occasional flashes of Let's Dance, Heathen, Reality and even Tin Machine and Outside. Yet like all Bowie productions, after a few listens it begins to distance itself from comparisons and to truly become, simply, the new Bowie album.

Earl Slick—who's played on no fewer than 10 Bowie albums—is one of several guitarists to appear on The Next Day, popping up on various tracks to lend his Keith Richards-esque melodic rock edge to some of the harder material, while Gerry Leonard and David Torn handle some of the more atmospheric songs. But with rumors of Bowie's retirement swirling, did Slick ever think he'd see the day when he'd record another Bowie album? "The situation is kind of funny," Slick says. "I've known David almost my entire adult life and there isn't anything he's ever done that has surprised me. My thought was, 'I'm just gonna go about my business, because he may or many not do something again.' I had no idea, 'cause I'd never seen him go this long. Ever. I couldn't gear what I was doing towards whether he was going to do this again, because I knew he may do it or he may not do it. So I wouldn't have been surprised if he never did it again, and I wasn't surprised when he did do it!"

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