He’s played with David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails and is an accomplished session musician, yet until now little has been written about him. Now a soon-to-be published biography uncovers the life story of Mike Garson and his musical career from New York jazz pianist to his collaboration with Bowie and beyond.

David Bowie with Mike Garson.
Man behind the thin white duke. Authorised biography of pianist Mike Garson, written by Clifford Slapper.

Written by Clifford Slapper, himself a pianist who’s played with Bowie, the book is based on in-depth interviews with Garson as well as other musicians who have worked with him during his lengthy professional career.

With over 50 photographs, many never seen before, Bowie’s Piano Man seeks to shine a spotlight on Garson a musician who has contributed hugely to modern musical history.

Garson played piano on 16 Bowie albums, including Aladdin Sane with his distinctive solo on the album’s title track. He has also played live with Bowie on tours and shows, and remains his most long-standing and frequent band member. Garson also played with guitarist Mick Ronson.

Slapper who lives in Fitzrovia worked closely with Garson to write the book which explores the life of this extraordinary and eccentric modern musician. It documents in detail how as a pianist he was catapulted overnight from the obscure world of New York’s avant-garde jazz scene to a close and long connection with Bowie. The biography features many interviews with those who have worked with Garson over the years, including Earl Slick, Trent Reznor, Sterling Campbell, Reeves Gabrels, and Dave Liebman.

A music industry insider, Slapper has performed with David Bowie, Boy George, Suggs, Lisa Stansfield, Jarvis Cocker, Galen Ayers, Angie Brown, Stereo MCs and Gary Kemp. Together with Billie Ray Martin he created a series of live and partially improvised film-scores in London and Berlin for Polanski’s Repulsion. As a pianist he features on recent releases by Marc Almond and Holly Johnson. He also produces and presents regular performance club nights across London. Aside from magazine articles, this book will be his first published work.

Bowie’s Piano Man: The Life Of Mike Garson, by Clifford Slapper. Published by Fantom Books, UK, 2 March 2015.

Book launch event in Fitzrovia and Soho: Tuesday 9 December, 3pm-8pm at Bourne & Hollingsworth, 28 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JF; and Tuesday 16 December, 7pm-9pm at The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place, London W1F 0JF. Special pre-launch offer from 9 December 2014: signed hardback copy exclusively available via the Fantom website until trade release in March 2015.