The Companion

Home Index  FAQ Encyclopaedia Timeline Songs Gallery E-mail

  "Bowie's Different But Plans Changes Next Time Around"  

Article Index

Mary Campbell - Associated Press in Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel (17 November 1972)

David Bowie will be in concert tonight at Pirates World. All tickets for the 8 o'clock performance are $5.  This article was written by Mary Campbell of the Associated Press several weeks ago when Bowie arrived in the United States.

Preview of Pirates World, Dania Concert - 17 November 1972

David Bowie has arrived in America ahead of time as a superstar of theatrical rock - a current rage.

We sat and talked with him before he started his eight-city, month long tour.  "I'm a slow traveler, and I don't like working every night."

He says "I thought I'd come with the complete theatre performance that I have been doing in England.  Then I realized that would be a mistake.  I should come over with minimal gimmicks and props and theatrics the first time and present the songs the way I like to present songs.  Then I can give myself a platform later on, next year, for different styles and other things to keep me happy."

Bowie's hair is sticking straight up looking like pieces of straw that have been dipped in orange shoe polish.  "I always had the conception that aliens from other planets could possibly have red hair.  If they came, I wanted them not to be freaked." It's his hair he says, but the colour comes out of a tube.   It has been blond, may be blue or green next.

On stage at a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall, Bowie with his boots, tight, shiny, two-piece jump suit on his thin frame, eye make-up darkening his eyes into disappearance, his mouth dark and thin, apparently is meant to look like man and woman in one.  He looks more like one of the Munsters.  His performance, as he said, is a rock show.  When he moves on stage, usually it is simply to trade mikes with the lead guitarist of his quartet, the Spiders.  The first and last numbers do use flashing strobe light, aimed at the eyes of the audience and giving the quartet's movements, some of which are suggestive, a stop action look.  Some of the songs are from Bowie's latest album on RCA, "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars."  Others go back through his previous four albums.

The first three albums weren't hard rock, and Bowie started working onstage only last year.  "I've had the reputation in England for changing all the time.  I've been able to put on something nobody expected and have it well received.  I never had a direction.  I'm very faddy; I've always have been ever since I was 13 or 14.  It just keeps my interest.  I find if I do one type of thing for too long, I'm a little bored.  It is out of necessity really to keep my functions alive. I think every rock n roll singer that ever lived is in the way I move on stage.  I'm very much a conglomerate figure.  It's a visual exercise in being a parasite."

Bowie was born in Brixton, England, a suburb of London.

"I'm 22 or 24 depending on my mood." His name was - still is - David Jones and his first group was David Jones and The Lower Third.   When a David Jones became a Monkee, he took the name Bowie because it is a Scots name and because of the American who gave his name to the knife.

His first LP was on Deram "Love You Till Tuesday".  Then he studied at a Buddhist monastery and was a mime troupe before making "Man of Words Man of Music" and "The Man Who Sold The World", both for Mercury in 1969.

The latter featured a picture of Bowie reclining on a velvet divan wearing a satin ball gown.  "It was a velvet hand print by Michel Fish.  I like clothes design; I'm interested in clothes."

Does than mean that Bowie is part of drag rock?   "I don't know anything about fag rock at all.  That was a dress designed for a man; there were a lot of those things going around in London three years ago."

"It seemed a very attractive photograph at the time. I wanted a kind of art nouveau because at that time I had a passionate belief in art nouveau which has since been quenched I think. That started more than I thought it did.   Without offence to Alice Cooper, it's probably what started what they call in England glam rock.  I like Marc Bolan's and Alice's work but I think we're in very different fields.  One does tend to get lumped in. But I think glam rock is a lovely way to categorize me and it's even nicer to be one of the leaders of it.  I had been very much on my own.  There's security in being part of a trend.  With a little bit of luck, if I keep working hard, I can probably withstand it."

Bowie says that RCA, for whom he has cut "Hunky Dory" and "Ziggy Stardust" is going to re-release takes from the two Mercury albums plus a cut made with Bolan.  "I knew how good my early work was and bought the tapes back.  I love my early albums and play them a lot."

Bowie says "Until last year I was never interested in being a performer.  I always was first and foremost a songwriter.  But I had so many people who wanted me to go onstage.  I've glad I've done it.  I get a kick out of going out on stage; I live more in that hour and a half than any other time.   In England I achieved some kind of minor cult thing, something I never particularly wanted.  It was an interest in my activities, which was a blessing, though I don't know to what extent I have remained a cult figure.  I'm happy with the reaction we've had over here.  I expected we would have to trek round and round until eventually we built up an audience.  But we're selling 3 and 4,000 tickets to concerts straight away on the first tour."

About his songwriting, Bowie says, "I told somebody the other day I don't necessarily agree with what I write. I often put other people's viewpoints down.  I think a lot of my material is very clinical, written by an outsider.  I've written a song and I've understood it at the time of writing and a month later I don't understand what he was talking about.  That's probably why I can derive pleasure from listening to my earliest stuff. I can read something different into it each time. I go ahead and record it, even if I don't understand it, if it still sparks something off, something emotional. I think I have a fractured vision. What I'm trying to say is definite but I'm not quite sure of what I'm trying to say.  So my material sounds unsure of itself and of everything: its abstract. There's a lot of confusions in my general makeup. I feel as though I'm on a tight rope more and more, a kind of precipice."

Asked whether some people think David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust, the rock star subject of the "Ziggy Stardust" album, are the same people, he says, "Yes. It is difficult to dispel that kind of thing.  Ziggy is partly autobiographical and partly a kind of personification of the rock figure."

---This page last modified: 12 Dec 2018---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)