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Radio Interview - 1974

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This radio interview broadcast in mid 1974 was conducted between David Bowie (who was in the US for his 1974 Diamond Dogs Tour) and an Australian interviewer. It discusses Bowie's use of the name "Mars", his singles "Starman" and "Rock n Roll Suicide" and where the Ziggy Stardust clothes and haircut originated amongst other things.

Interviewer: The whole Mars trip - how did you get into that in the beginning?

Bowie: I used Mars merely as a common denominator meaning anything that was out of our own particular area of what is termed cosmic perception. Like anything from another planet - or another source of life - or any other kind of life. I narrowed it down and made it a comic cartoon kind of thing and made it Mars. Why not Mars? It probably won't come from Mars but Mars is something that everyone can identify with.

Interviewer: Is that how the band got its name - The Spiders From Mars?

Bowie: Yeah. The Spiders From Mars were really just the backing group for the character Ziggy Stardust.

Interviewer: How did they get together - The Spiders From Mars?

Bowie: My Spiders From Mars?....A couple of the guys came from the Northern part of England and they met in London a number of years ago....... We just found each other and we have always worked together.

Interviewer: What about "Starman" then?

Bowie: Well I have to explain the whole musical to you. At one time [Ziggy] was a musical. "Starman" was the song that Ziggy wrote which inspired people to follow him and it was all a pack of lies but he continued and then he was crushed by his own ego.

Interviewer: Was it originally going to be a rock opera or something like that?

Bowie: Yes it was but suddenly I found I was Ziggy Stardust - it just became something else. It became a whole ridiculous lifestyle.

Interviewer: "Rock n Roll Suicide" is now your new new single.

Bowie: Is it really? I didn't know that!

Interviewer: What's the story behind "Rock N Roll Suicide"?

Bowie: "Rock N Roll Suicide" was the song in the original musical where Ziggy in fact committed his kind of own hari kari on stage. He killed himself on stage and that was the song on which he did it.

Interviewer: Glam rock - who started it? You have been credited with it

Bowie: I don't know anything about Glam rock!

Interviewer: Well a lot of people think that you started it.

Bowie: I'm sorry but I don't recognise it.  I don't know of it - I don't know anything about it.  I don't understand what they call glam rock. I must be too old or something!

Interviewer: Who or how did the outrageous clothes and haircut come about?

Bowie: Well when you boil it all down you find that its not so outrageous at all.  The clothes? - why they look outrageous is because the West hasn't seen them before. Where they actually come from is Japan whose people have been wearing clothes like that in Kabuki and mime theatre for about a 1,000 years and the designs are very very old and they have very little which is modern.

Interviewer: What about the haircut?

Bowie: Really I got that haircut from a character - a kind of bird that was in a film called Jason and The Argonauts and there was a creature with wings with bright short red hair - a very skinny kind of creature that looked like a bat and I thought he looked like me - the haircut.

---This page last modified: 29 Jun 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)