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Ziggy Stardust drummer 'expects to see Bowie on stage' when playing his hits

The last surviving member of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust backing band has revealed he sometimes expects to see the late music superstar alongside him on stage.

Drummer Mick "Woody" Woodmansey performed on some of the key albums of Bowie's early career including The Man Who Sold The World and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.

The 66-year-old now performs the Starman singer's early hits alongside long-time Bowie collaborator, producer Tony Visconti, Heaven 17 singer Glenn Gregory and a number of other musicians in supergroup Holy Holy.

With Holy Holy preparing to tour the famed Ziggy album across the UK, including stops in Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and London, Woodmansey told the Press Association he often "looks up from the kit expecting to see him (Bowie) there".

He said: "At odd moments you can't help but flash back, just because the numbers are his.

"It was harder after he just passed and Glenn Gregory found the songs really hard to actually sing and stay in tune without swallowing hard."

The original The Spiders From Mars band featured Woodmansey alongside Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder backing Bowie.

The drummer said the band's tour would be a chance to "celebrate" the singer, who died in January last year, as well as, Ronson and Bolder, who died in 1993 and 2013.

Apart from his work with Holy Holy, the drummer said he had been working with Rita Ora on her new album and had initially underestimated her talents.

"It came out of the left field. I was like, 'are you sure you want what I want do, I'm a hard-hitting rock guy,' but it was exactly what she wanted," he said.

"It was great, I hadn't really paid a lot of attention to her. I knew who she was and I had her in this bag with the modelly, X Factor, The Voice, singers that probably need autotuning and someone's going to produce the hell out of it.

"But when we got together in the session, she can really sing."

Woodmansey added: "I was really pleasantly surprised, she's got a great voice and a good team around her."

:: Holy Holy's Ziggy Stardust tour begins in Hull on March 25 and ends in Bristol on April 15.

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