A Relaxed Bowie in Australia – David Bowie

The Ashburton Guardian

16 December 1987

A Relaxed Bowie in Australia

0038_up_davidbowie_theasbhurtonguardian16decv1987-rev10002People are talking in exited hushed tones. Then the lights go out, a voice announces over the speaker system something about a spider, a tour and then, amid the screams, the curtain goes up and there’s Bowie with a smile from ear to ear.

The band launches straight into Bang Bang from the Never Let me down album and suddenly people are on the dance floor squashing in close.

The first thing you notice about Bowie is how small he is. The next is those famous eyes, one coloured green the other a dark blue.

Once he finishes his second song. Young Americans, he pulls up a bar stool and mutters complimentary comments about Australia and how nice it is to be back.

He recorded his first album, The World of David Bowie in 1967 and used to double-gig regularly with another struggling young band Roxy Music.

In between times he would queue to see international acts. He once slept outside the odean in Brixton for a little Richard concert and managed to secure front row seats. The opening act that night was the Rolling Stone.

Bowie remembers the event vividly. Mick Jagger came on stage and someone yelled out “get ya hair cut”. Jagger, replied … “and “look like you.” Bowie thought it was quite hysterical.

A fan yells out “I Love You David.”‘ He smiles and casually replies: “Why thank you, I love you too.” Everyone laughs. This is the congenial Bowie – and willing to talk on almost any subject.

He may be 40, but he looks as though he’s in his late 20s. He rubs the stubble on his chin. His hair is bleached blond and shaved close to his skull over his ears.

A contingent of about 50 fans giggle, laugh and ask awkward questions like what does he wear to bed – Bowie laughs and says he’s not meant to answer questions like that.

Like a school teacher sitting at the head of a class, he asks people to raise their hands if they have questions. The fans boo when someone asks if he has any comment on the alleged rape charge in Dallas.

“Sure,” he replies. “This woman is trying to pull off a particularly malicious self publicity stunt and frankly I think she’s received enough publicity.”

The fans cheer. Later on the singer reveals that a British newspaper has offered the woman $NZ50, 000 for the story.

While the fans are content to play it safe by asking questions about his early career and about his current tour, the reporters are more interested in finding out where Bowie thinks he’s at in his career.

He agrees his last world tour in 1983 – The Serious Moonlight shows – were more like a David Bowie’s big hits tour; an event which perturbed him slightly.

“I never thought so many people would come and see me. I had all these singles in the charts and I played the songs I was best known for.

“I like the idea of putting on a theatrical performance. Not just a rock concert. I wanted something visual that the audience could take away with it at the end of the night as well as the music.”

He refers to his stage set and show as a “sorta circus toppy event”. Which includes a stage which is 18 metres high. No, this won’t be his last tour like some press reports here said. And, yes, next time he tours it will be a back-to-basics rock and roll performance.

His movie career is currently on hold and he has revealed he isn’t that happy about some of the projects he has been involved in. He and Mick Jagger still plan to collaborate on a movie in 1989, but meanwhile someone has stolen his idea for another film which was based on an Australian book titled Delin quencies.

Bowie says he read the book by an Australian author called Rowan, which was written in the ’50s, about two teenagers from Melbourne.

“It’s the most delightful teenage story I’ve ever read, but when I went to secure the movie rights, someone else had already snapped them up. Is there anybody out there who knows anything about it? I’d still like to be involved in that project in some way.”

Bowie’s son, christened Zowie but who now calls himself Joe, is 16 and lives in Australia. Has or will Bowie settle there as well ?

“I could be living here already,” answers Bowie with a cheeky grin, “but you don’t know,do you!”

He feels he’s as much an innovator today as when he began making music – but concedes this is purely a matter of opinion.

“I am like a painter who paints the same picture over and over again but with a small amount of difference.

My recent material is much more intimate and personal and I’m walking a fine line at the moment as to what direction I ‘m going to pursue next,

“As a writer I’m fn a state ‘of flux. If I felt that I had run into a brick wall and couldn’t write anymore. I’d pack the whole thing in, but I don’t feel like that.

David Bowie is a self confessed dreamer and says many of his ideas originate in dreams which he tries to remember and jot down on a note pad at his bedside.

He reckons he would have been a mediocre painter if he hadn’t been a successful rock singer. His next studio album will be more guitar oriented and, no, he’s not producing Iggy Pop’s new album: Iggy’s doing it himself.

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~ by khomenx on 5-February-2009.

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