Guitarist G.E. Smith Says David Bowie Hired Him 'Because I Looked Weird'
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
July 17, 2020
Smith has worked with Hall & Oates , Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and many others in his career. He was the musical director at Saturday Night Live from 1985 - 1995, but he was early in his tenure with Hall & Oates when he met Bowie at a party in New York City in 1980.
The two struck up a conversation and Bowie asked Smith if he was free the next day to appear in a music video. Smith said he was happy to do it and he went about enjoying himself.
"Then about 15-20 minutes go by, we're again off with other people at the party, and a woman, Coco, who worked with him came over and she said, 'We just heard that you play the guitar?'" Smith recalled to Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke. "[Bowie] just wanted me to be in the video because I looked weird, you know, and he wanted to get some weird-looking people in the video. She said, 'I heard you play the guitar.' I said, 'Yeah.' She said, 'Good, you can be the guitar player in the video, so bring you guitar.'"
Working on the music video turned into several live gigs with Bowie, including the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
While Smith didn't work with Bowie for long, the music icon made an impression.
"David was the nicest guy ever," G.E. recalls. "When David Bowie smiled at you, you were smiled at! You knew you were getting smiles at. Real smart guy. I actually met him at a party in the city. He said he was gonna shoot a video the next day and he wanted to know if I wanted to be in the video and I said sure. About 15 - 20 minutes go by, we're again off with other people at the party and a woman,Coco, who worked with him came over and she said, 'We just heard that you play the guitar!' He just wanted me to be in the video because I looked weird. He wanted to get some weird looking people in the video."
Watch the full conversation above.
Photo: Getty Images