Earl Slick discussed the strange working relationship he had with David Bowie, which began in 1974 and lasted on and off until 2013.

The American guitarist’s career includes credits with John Lennon, David Coverdale and others. In a new interview with Guitar World, Slick described Bowie as an artist who did “whatever hit him at a particular time.” He said, “I remember I played with him in 2000 – we did Glastonbury and a gig at the BBC Theatre. There were some gigs in New York. A while later, he was talking about touring on the Heathen record.

“I got a call from [producer] Mark Plati, and he said, ‘Before you hear this from somebody else, it looks like David’s got another guitar player, so you won’t be going on the tour.’ I just went, ‘Well, another day with David.’

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“I was in New York for the week, so I emailed David and asked if he wanted to have coffee. We were supposed to meet, but then his assistant called and said he wasn’t feeling well, and then she asked me to lunch. I went to meet her, and then we went to Looking Glass Studios, where David was doing some vocals.

“He wasn’t well; he had a cold or the flu. I said hi and I was there for a bit, and finally, he said, ‘By the way, what are you doing in April?’ I just laughed and said, ‘Why, what’s going on?’ He said, ‘We’re going out.’ I said, ‘Great.’ That’s just the way it went.”

By the time Bowie was working on 2013’s The Next Day, Slick wasn’t part of the scene. “I was in touch with the guys playing on it, but nobody could say a word because they signed NDAs,” he said.

“So I’m in Montclair, New Jersey, doing a blues gig. I was with a surgeon friend and he had a Cobra car. He said, ‘Hey, let’s drive the Cobra to the gig.’ Sounded good to me. On the way there, the engine caught fire and the car blew up.”

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“We’re in this high-end neighborhood, and there’s this car in the middle of the street engulfed in flames. The police and news people came down. Somebody spotted me, and it hit the internet.”

That was when Bowie emailed him again, to ask about the accident. “I wrote him back and said I was fine. A couple hours later, I got another email – ‘So how have you been?’ ‘Good, how are you doing?’

“We started doing these weird emails throughout the day, and finally I said, ‘Are you going somewhere with this?’ He goes, ‘I’m in the studio making a record, and you need to play on it.’ When I got to the studio, I said to him, ‘Did I have to blow up a fucking car?’ You can’t make this shit up!”

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Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci

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