Interview with David Bowie

Modern Music 80s Rock
The recurring statement through your ’70s interviews was about trying to shake off that middle class ball and chain.

“I’m lumbered with that problem. I mean, I’ll have it for the rest of my life. Ha ha.”
Succumbing to it?
“I think so, yeah. I think I’ve accepted that situation. There’s no way I can make myself other than what I am. (Bowie pauses and bursts out laughing) Now that’s a funny thing for me to say
isn’t it? (Laughter) What a ludicrous thing to say, David! But it is somewhere in there, yes. One faces up to all these things. I’m armed with all these things, my problems with my own background, my own personal problems, or whatever. I’m not so detached from myself any more. I feel in touch. (Mimes peace sign, laughing) Hey, I feel in touch with myself!”

How do you think your 17-year-old self would feel if he were confronted with your 36-year-old self?

“My 17-year-old self would think, er, especially regarding the drift to where I’m presumably going, that self would probably think, ‘Aw what a waste,’ ha ha ha, ‘It’s going to be really boring.’
Ha ha. And I’d say, ‘You wait ’til you’re 36! Ha ha. You won’t think it’s quite so exciting just working in dark areas.’ Ha ha.”

Last year Lou Reed said he was quite prepared to write rock’n’roll songs for adults. On ‘Scary Monsters’ you seemed to be addressing the young still.

“Did it really feel like that? That’s interesting. You could probably answer that better yourself, but I would imagine it seemed like that because the instrumentation, the actual effects of the instruments and quality of production…”

When you purged yourself of the Victoria incident (you’ll recall the time Bowie arrived at Victoria Station in a Mercedes limo with a theatrical flourish of outriders, salutes and loaded
statements), you were saying it was some people of Berlin’s far left that swayed you. How did they approach you on the incident?

“The most illuminating conversation about that was with a couple of guys who really took me to task about the things I said about fascism in 1976, and they made me very aware of how much
thought one should put into what one does and says.
“They weren’t responsible for making me fi nish with that whole drug period or anything, but they set me up and caught me on a very bad day, you know, ha ha. (In a heavy Teutonic tone) ‘So you still a Nazi, David?’ Oh dear! Crumbs! They gave me a real ticking off and that really put me straight, I think.
“It really sorted that out in my mind about not being quite so fl ippant or fragmented or stupid or stoned out of my gourd to let myself get involved with those kinds of just hideous reflections…

“My problem is that after I’ve written something, or when I’ve started writing something, I then try to intellectualise what I’m doing, And that’s when the problems usually begin! Especially when you try and intellectualize when you’ve just done a gram of cocaine, ha ha, and the offcoming statement is usually something that one doesn’t want to refer back to a few years later.”

Are drugs completely out now?
“Oh absolutely! Drugs are no part of my writing or recording or anything. It’s impossible to consider your life worthwhile, or the life of those around you worthwhile, if you’re just fractured like that. I mean, God knows what would have happened to my son if I was continually stoned over the last ten years. I probably wouldn’t have him. He certainly wouldn’t have wanted me.”

He seems quite a sober character, from what you were saying at the press conference about his love for maths.

“Yeah, he likes Madness, though. Loves them. I thought he was going to start liking A Flock Of Seagulls, which worried me a lot. But he saw them on television and fortunately decided
they weren’t for him. Ha ha.”

Seconds to go: panic!!! David Bowie is modifying his reappraisal of his legacy, rightly claiming his past work can be played as photojournalist snaps of the mood and atmosphere of the time they were written, when his publicist arrives to bring the interview to a close.

“If you want to conjure up the atmosphere of any particular period, well, for me I can do it quite easily by putting on one of those albums. If you put on ‘Station To Station’ it couldn’t be from any other period than when it was written.

“I don’t know how the songs feel onstage, not being an audience for my own work. I don’t know if people can still treat them as contemporary pieces…”
Source:Nme Original 80s
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