These are difficult times to think of any musician not born David Robert Jones. The legacy of Davie Bowie is so vast and so influential, that any thoughts of other artists inevitably flow back to the iconic musician who passed away on January 10.
It’s unfair to burden any artist with comparisons to Bowie. The terms used to describe him reflect that reality — beyond the obvious Ziggy Stardust persona, the reason so many people refer to him as an “alien” is because it’s too difficult to view someone from Earth as capable of creating the music and art he made.
Still, that doesn’t mean that Bowie left this place without successors worthy to follow the trail he fearlessly blazed. There are a handful of current artists who embody his passion for exploring new creative boundaries, for embracing change and challenges, and for seeking commonalities among musicians and people from disparate backgrounds. Ty Segall is one of those artists.
As a garage rock kid growing up in uber-preppy Laguna Beach, Segall knows what it means to be an outsider, so he extends the courtesy of an open-mind to all he encounters. While no one will be ever be loved like Bowie (seriously, in 40-plus years as a pro, he didn’t seem to have one person that didn’t adore him, which is absolutely astonishing, considering the egos he encountered on a routine basis), that kind of inclusiveness is why Segall is so widely-admired by his peers today.
And just by his sheer productivity, Segall embodies the same shape-shifting qualities that made Bowie famous. It’s not really worth stating again how prolific Segall is, but his ceaseless output means he’s constantly embracing new images, whether it’s the bare-bones garage rocker, the glammed-out space artist, the bruising speed freak, the meditative singer-songwriter or the guy just content to hang out behind the kit and bash on the drums. Identities are shed and picked up with ease, but the person behind them all — the true Segall — remains the same. He’s an artist committed to his craft and to connecting with others.
His latest effort is Emotional Mugger, which is coming out on January 22 via Drag City. It was originally only available on VHS, which showcases another trait Segall shares with Bowie — a gift for the absurd.
To support his latest venture, Segall, a former resident of San Francisco, will play two shows at the Fillmore, on January 18 and 19. He’ll be backed by the Muggers, a supporting band that has some pretty damn famous faces. Like Bowie, Segall always knows how to attract the best and brightest to his side.
Ty Segall & the Muggers, with CFM, VIAL, and CCR Headcleaner
January 18 and 19, 8 p.m.