Seth Scholes poses with his saxophone and a magazine in Kingston

Canadian man recalls jamming with Bowie as a child

When Seth Scholes walked backstage to meet David Bowie nearly 30 years ago, the 11-year-old saxophone player from Kingston, Ont., was hardly aware of how the encounter would help shape his life.

TORONTO — When Seth Scholes walked backstage to meet David Bowie nearly 30 years ago, the 11-year-old saxophone player from Kingston, Ont., was hardly aware of how the encounter would help shape his life.

It was a chance meeting with one of music’s biggest icons, spurred on by a story about the pre-teen in the local newspaper.

When he thinks about the Aug. 24, 1987 encounter, he remembers how Bowie was “really cool, in the sense that he wasn’t intimidating at all.”

“He was just really sincere, easy to talk to and seemed genuinely interested in me,” Scholes said.

Scholes was first discovered when a local reporter spotted him playing saxophone on a sidewalk in Kingston, where street performers were a rarity.

His youthful ambition was enough to merit a short news story he said he was raising money to buy a ticket to one of Bowie’s concerts.

The piece was picked up by The Canadian Press newswire and distributed across the country.

Somewhere along the line, Bowie’s representatives caught word of Scholes’s aspirations and offered his family passes to the singer’s Toronto concert. And the boy would get to meet Bowie backstage.

“He asked me all sorts of questions and his sax player came out and taught me a few lines of Young Americans. I played the best I could for him. He was pretty forgiving,” Scholes recalled.

“He was asking what kind of music I liked listening to. I asked him what he was listening to and he told me the Sex Pistols and he told me I should check them out.

“I thought: that’s good, he’s staying cutting edge a little bit for an 11-year-old.”

Scholes had another question for Bowie: whether he preferred Pepsi or Coke.

“There was all this Pepsi stuff around and he just looks at me and is like: ‘Well, Pepsi’s available,”’ he said.

The meeting with Bowie lasted just over an hour, but the interest from Canadians stretched on for almost a year.

“I became a celebrity in my hometown,” said Scholes. “With interviews and people stopping me on the street, and just a lot of interest in what happened to me.”

TV shows like MuchMusic’s Mike and Mike’s Cross Canada Adventures highlighted him as the young kid who met the international megastar.

And then it was all over.

Decades later, Scholes says the encounter inspired his career. He works as a technical director at a theatre in Kingston.

“It solidified my interest in entertainment and music for sure,” he said, noting that while he still occasionally plays saxophone, he prefers the guitar.

Scholes first heard about Bowie’s death when a radio station called him while he was driving to work.

“I’m not going to lie, I cried a little bit,” he said.

“That experience did project me on the path that I ended up taking — it definitely had a big impact.

“It wasn’t just meeting somebody famous.”

Just Posted

Trans Mountain CEO says shovels could be in ground on pipeline by September

CALGARY — The CEO of the Crown corporation building the Trans Mountain… Continue reading

Alberta government looking to speed up job accreditation for foreign workers

EDMONTON — The Alberta government wants to ensure that foreign-trained professionals and… Continue reading

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says his climate plan will be… Continue reading

Trudeau promises to legislate implementation of UNDRIP if re-elected

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising that a re-elected Liberal… Continue reading

Make passports free to ease new no-fly list measures, federal panel suggests

Ottawa should consider making passports free to everyone for a year to… Continue reading

WATCH: New RDC president has three decades of experience working at colleges and universities

Peter Nunoda says he’s ‘excited’ to help transition the college into a university

Trans Mountain CEO says shovels could be in ground on pipeline by September

CALGARY — The CEO of the Crown corporation building the Trans Mountain… Continue reading

Alberta government looking to speed up job accreditation for foreign workers

EDMONTON — The Alberta government wants to ensure that foreign-trained professionals and… Continue reading

Tax credits, penalizing big polluters, key to Conservative climate plan

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says his climate plan will be… Continue reading

Trudeau promises to legislate implementation of UNDRIP if re-elected

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising that a re-elected Liberal… Continue reading

Make passports free to ease new no-fly list measures, federal panel suggests

Ottawa should consider making passports free to everyone for a year to… Continue reading

Canada resettled more refugees than any other country in 2018, UN says

OTTAWA — As the number of displaced people worldwide reaches modern highs,… Continue reading

Trudeau to meet Pelosi, McConnell, as well as Trump in Washington

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet Nancy Pelosi, President Donald… Continue reading

Acts of kindness emerge at chaotic Raptors rally derailed by shooting

TORONTO — When gunshots sparked panic and chaos at a massive outdoor… Continue reading

Most Read