It was probably quite a momentus moment in the history of rock. Bowie was making Low in a French Chateau. He invited Iggy Pop down to the sessions to get a vibe going. Iggy was a kind of ying to Bowie's yang. Anyway as the sessions progressed they decided to start working on what became Iggy's album, the Idiot. Iggy still sang in a kind of Mick Jagger voice from his days in the Stooges. Bowie gently suggested that he should try singing like a crooner. Maybe is went like "Why dont you pretend you are Bing Crosby Iggy?". Maybe I'm making most of this up but that was the start of something. Joy Division, The Editors, The National and that band from the 90's with that song that went Dum Dum Dum (Crash Test Dummies), Mark Lanegan and so on and so deep of vocal. The rock Barry Tone.
If I was starting a band I would probably look for a Barry Tone as the singer. For starters music critics love it. I've never seen a bad Tindersticks or The National review in my life. There's also rule of rock no 78 that a Barry Tone has to wear a waistcoat/suit combo and look like they've lived a bit. We've all lived a bit but the Barry Tone generally has lived a bit more than the rest of us . The other thing is that women love a Barry Tone. They feel sorry for them and want to mother them. In real life they dont go near dishevelled guys in suits with piss stains on their trousers drinking endless whiskies at the end of the bar but in the rock pretend world you'll see millions of girls at a concert by a Barry Tone Band.
There's a few setbacks. You have to stand still and hug the microphone on stage and look like you are seriously down in the dumps even if youre feeling top of the f**king world. You cant wear a yellow jumpsuit. You probably have to put up with loads of muppet rock lifetsyle journalists turning up at your semi detached house in Cheltenham demanding that you take them to a bar in Soho for a 4 days Barry Tone whisky bender when in fact you'd rather just spend the day watching the horse racing and you have to wash your Toyota and buy a lottery ticket and can they just come back next week? The other hard thing about being a Barry Tone is that you need someone else to kick the chorus in. Okay Iggy and the Joy Division man can lift their voices up for a chorus but your typical Barry Tone is bit like a moped. They can do one speed. When you need that lift for the chorus the poor Barry Tone is still mumbling along in his deep voice with the rest of the band saying "come on man it's the chorus can you not sing it like Bon Scott?".
Anyways I enjoyed the National the other night.