Entertainment Music David Bowie's Lifelong Friend Revisits '70s Adventures with Rocker in Rare and Never-Before-Seen Photos Let's face it — some childhood friends grow up to be cooler than others. For Geoff MacCormack, that certainly rings true, as his grade school companionship with a young boy named David Jones eventually gave way to a lifelong friendship with the one and only David Bowie. As Bowie's star continued to rise, MacCormack was there for every step of the way, even singing backup on several of his pal's albums. When Bowie hit the road on tour in 1973, he asked MacCormack to join him — and he did, snapping photos along the way of their journey, which also included filming the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth and recording the album Station to Station. "I was very lucky," MacCormack says of his decades-long bond with Bowie, who died in 2016 at age 69. Now, MacCormack is sharing those photos with the world in a new book called David Bowie: Rock 'n' Roll with Me (out March 27 by ACC Art Books). MacCormack says he had "absolutely" no idea at the time that he was capturing history, but compiled the photos in an earlier, limited edition book that he put out in 2007 with Bowie's involvement. For that first go-round, the "Life on Mars" singer wrote a zany forward in which he pretended that none of the featured adventures had happened, and it was all a figment of MacCormack's imagination. That blurb now serves as the new book's afterward. "Obviously the book is sad at the end because he departs," says MacCormack. "So I've used that and it kind of lifts you up at the end." See below for a selection of photos from David Bowie: Rock 'n' Roll with Me, and the special stories behind them. By Rachel DeSantis Published on March 9, 2023 04:30 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos David Bowie. Photo: Geoff MacCormack 01 of 18 Madeira, 1974 Geoff MacCormack Bowie was not a fan of flying—in fact, MacCormack says, he "had a bit of a premonition thing going that he shouldn't fly for five years, so he didn't." With that in mind, the pals opted to travel to New York by boat, and made a stop in Madeira on a particularly blustery day. "It was really windy, and we were on our way to New York on the SS France, which we nearly missed because we were having such a good time in Paris," MacCormack recalls. "I think I took this with an Instamatic camera, a little plastic thing. But I love that. I love the kind of ragged quality of it. It looks like a snap. And he took a really, really s--- one of me, which he was wont to do, unfortunately, with the same pose." 02 of 18 Chicago, 1973 Geoff MacCormack MacCormack says he also snapped this shot of Bowie with a small Instamatic Kodak camera. In the photo, the rocker sports an outfit designed by the influential Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto. "That is Kansai's name in Japanese. So it's a valuable photo really, even though the quality's not great, but it's great," he says. "And he looks good!" 03 of 18 The Man Who Fell to Earth set, 1975 Geoff MacCormack The so-called "flamingo pose" was a force of habit for Bowie, snapped here by MacCormack on the set of the sci-fi drama The Man Who Fell to Earth. MacCormack recalls a story relayed in the book in which he and Bowie, along with some other friends, trekked out to Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad, New Mexico on a day off from shooting. As they headed back to set, they stopped at a greasy spoon—and quickly stuck out among the crowd. "It was full of kind of rednecks and whatever, and at one point David had a leather jacket on, and people were kind of staring at us because we were English and odd," he says. "He had this kind of Elvis Presley snarl on his face, like he was quite a tough guy, and I clocked that. And then I looked below and he was actually standing like that, and that's what people were looking at. It didn't matter how tough he was trying to look, that was the giveaway!" He adds: "It's just a pose he sometimes did. It's good fun, isn't it?" 04 of 18 Bournemouth, 1973 Geoff MacCormack Bowie and MacCormack had returned from Russia for a British tour when he photographed his friend signing autographs in the seaside town of Bournemouth. "This was before he really was huge—this was when he was on his way," he says. "But he was seriously on his way then." MacCormack adds that the female fans in the photo were later identified after Bowie's website asked if anyone recognized them. 05 of 18 Somewhere Over Europe, 1973 Geoff MacCormack As MacCormack previously explained, Bowie did not like airplanes. But after they missed a train headed home from Russia, the pair had no choice but to travel via the sky. "We had to detour and go to somewhere else to get a hovercraft," MacCormack says. "So this is at a point where somebody pointed out to David that hovercrafts actually fly. That look sort of says, 'Oh s---.' [But] he did it! He was a captive audience." 06 of 18 Los Angeles, 1975 Geoff MacCormack Bowie was photographed hard at work on his 1976 album Station to Station with producer Harry Maslin at Cherokee Studios in L.A. The album, the star's 10th, featured cover art taken from The Man Who Fell to Earth, and included songs like "Golden Years" and "Words on a Wing." 07 of 18 The Man Who Fell to Earth set, 1975 Geoff MacCormack MacCormack says he didn't take "loads" of pictures of Bowie, as he didn't want to be constantly snapping photos in his friend's face. Still, he'd occasionally catch Bowie pulling a gloriously brooding mug, like in this photo. "That's a cheeky one, isn't it? I love that," he says. "Sometimes he'd give me the odd look, a little bit of recognition. And that was one time." 08 of 18 Santa Fe, 1975 Geoff MacCormack The Man Who Fell to Earth was filmed primarily in New Mexico, and MacCormack believes this photo —which features Bowie looking effortlessly cool as he lugs tree branches with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth — was taken on a ranch in Santa Fe. Still, he's... not entirely sure about that. "I'm totally mystified about this picture because I don't remember taking it!" he says. "It looks like Santa Fe, if you look at the house, it's got that kind of look about it." Still, he says with a laugh, "Why would he be moving trees? It's beyond crazy." 09 of 18 Russia, 1973 Geoff MacCormack MacCormack refers earlier to a "s---" photo that Bowie took of him — and here it is in all its glory. In the photo, MacCormack poses outside the Trans-Siberian Express, which they used to travel back to Europe. "I've got a sneaking suspicion he really was taking, not the picture of me, but the guy up in the corner picking his nose. I think that was the interest. That was the money shot," MacCormack laughs. Though Bowie was certainly a talented musician, not everyone can be a gifted photographer. "It is just such a terrible shot of me after the lovely one I took of him!" jokes MacCormack. "And I just think he drifted at that point." 10 of 18 En Route to Siberia, 1973 Geoff MacCormack While traveling on a ship to Siberia to catch the boat train to the Trans-Siberian Express, Bowie signs an autograph for a fan while sitting with MacCormack. "I gave someone my camera and said, 'Could you just take a shot?'" he recalls. "[David] was always good with people. He was always really, really pleasant with them." 11 of 18 The Man Who Fell to Earth set, 1975 Geoff MacCormack During rehearsals for the film, Bowie practices his shot on set. "I only showed this picture just recently," he explains. "I kind of used bits and bobs, and my wife found lots of stuff and said, 'Well, what about this? This is great.' And I think sometimes other people can go, 'Why aren't you using this? This is great.' And now it's been around I really like it." 12 of 18 The Man Who Fell to Earth set, 1975 David Bowie. Geoff MacCormack Bowie embraced his inner male model with this brooding gaze. "I call that the Marlon Brando shot," says MacCormack. He snapped this one of his friend through glass that had rainwater on it, which gave it an "almost filtered effect." 13 of 18 The Man Who Fell to Earth set, 1975 Geoff MacCormack MacCormack previously displayed some of his Bowie shots at an exhibition at the Brighton Museum Gallery — including this one of a barefoot, gun-slinging, wine-drinking Bowie, which he says was a big hit among fans. "This was in the last of three rooms, and it was about 12' tall by 8'," he says. "And it's one of those things which was very popular. People would stand in front of it and get their picture taken." 14 of 18 En Route to Japan, 1975 Geoff MacCormack Once again bypassing the skies above, the childhood friends traveled by boat to Japan. Though the ship was officially named the SS Oronsay, MacCormack and Bowie dubbed it the "Old Rancid" due to its lack of luxury. "It wasn't that gross, but we'd been spoiled," he explains. "We'd been on two gorgeous ships, and then this one was less gorgeous." While on board, they posed for a photo with ship stewards — and a man they thought looked a whole lot like Colonel Sanders. "We thought he was Colonel Sanders! We truly believed that we were in the presence of Colonel Sanders at that point," he says. 15 of 18 The Man Who Fell to Earth set, 1975 Geoff MacCormack As they were childhood friends, MacCormack says it took joining Bowie on tour to realize just how fast his star was rising. "Seeing the what were now huge crowds, especially in a place like, say Tower Theater in Philly, which was like this holy place of rock, and the audience were crazy," he recalls. "It was a bit like, 'Oh, this is a hoot. We're just doing this. It probably won't last.'" He continues: "But I loved what he'd done to simplify the art form. He was at that point, and I thought that was a really clever thing to do, to fashion himself like that... It was really a package that wasn't fragmented like his career before." 16 of 18 Château d'Hérouville, 1973 Geoff MacCormack Mick Ronson, the late guitarist, songwriter and producer who worked frequently with Bowie, stands anxiously before a French quintet during the recording of "Sorrow," a track on Bowie's seventh album Pin Ups. The album was recorded in France at Château d'Hérouville, an 18th-century castle-turned-recording studio that played host to everyone from Pink Floyd and the Bee Gees to Elton John and Iggy Pop. "You can see how nervous Mick is, but he's so clever," says MacCormack. "I mean, he was so clever and good at what he was." 17 of 18 Los Angeles, 1975 Geoff MacCormack Back in Cherokee Studios, Bowie lays down vocals for Station to Station. "He would've been in the vocal booth," says MacCormack. "You don't get too close [to the mic] because you pop if you get too close." 18 of 18 Italy, 1973 Geoff MacCormack Once Bowie's British tour wrapped, he and MacCormack headed (by train, of course) to Italy for some R&R. "We went for a vacation in Rome, and that's him signing autographs on the train, going out to, probably, another boat," he says.