Hanging Out With Bowie: Terry McGovern Remembers A Night Out With the Thin White Duke

John Carter was a record promoter in San Francisco. I was a DJ on KSFO. I was doing something typically silly on my show. Boom-chuck-chuck. It takes two people, taking turns w/the syllables in waltz time. You say boom, I say chuck, you say chuck…and so on until someone messes up. The door to my studio opened while I was playing this nonsense game on the air with a caller. I saw John and we exchanged a smile. And then I saw who he was with. "David wants to play this game w/you." I almost fell off my chair. It was David Bowie, in town to promote his latest album. Bowie sat down and we began to play. I think he wiped me out in no time. After the show, David, John and I went to the Boarding House, the very hip venue on Bush Street. John had to take off, so I sat there for over an hour watching the show with David Bowie. It was surreal. Just two guys, taking in a show, knocking back a couple of drinks, checking out the scene. I was struck by how polite he was, warm and sincerely interested in everything going on around us. At one point, the light hit his face and, yep, there they were. That one blue eye, and one green eye. He caught me looking at him and smiled. "Odd, aren't they?" he said. We laughed. Bowie was on his way to Japan…by ship. He said he was terrified of flying, so he planned on taking a cruise ship from San Francisco to Tokyo. I remember thinking how cool that was to turn a morbid fear into a leisurely, sophisticated sea voyage. I can't recall much else. The show ended. (Sadly I have no idea who was on stage.) We said our farewells and he thanked me for playing his music on the radio. We parted. This morning, I woke up to the news that he was gone. The Thin White Duke with those extraordinary eyes. I had his company for an hour or so one night a long time ago. I'll never forget him. I'll never stop listening to him. And I'll play boom-chuck-chuck with anyone who'd like to. Text by Terry McGovern (A San Francisco media fixture for decades, Terry is well known on radio, TV, commercials, animation, feature films, theatre and video games. You may remember him uttering those immortal words “These are not the droids we’re looking for” in Star Wars, A New Hope. He has also appeared in films such as American Graffiti and Mrs. Doubtfire)