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Hanley Top Rank, Stoke-On-Trent, UK on 7 September 1972
Mirabelle - September 1972
Popping The Question:
By Paul Raven
The place is Stoke. Everyone is eagerly waiting. Suddenly we're plunged into darkness and all you can make out is four figures bouncing onto the stage, all glittering in the deep darkness. Then they're straight into their first song and when the lights finally come on the first thing that catches your eye is David Bowie. His drummer, bass guitarist, although wearing stunning outfits, seem to fall into the background as the one and only David Bowie takes over. After all, it is his show. David looks different - to say the least. His blue lurex jacket is unzipped and his denim trousers are tucked into his blue boxing boots. Obviously Stoke will never be the same again! Then of course there's David's bright red cropped hair - how could I forget that!
Talking to David is just as interesting as watching him on stage. He has some good things to say and some good points to make. Here's how the conversation went:
MIRABELLE: Why do you wear such way-out costumes?
DAVID: Why not? I enjoy wearing them and so does the group. When I got out onto a stage I try to make the performance as good and interesting as possible, and I don't just mean by singing my songs and moving off. I think if you're really going to entertain an audience then you have to look the part, too. I feel very comfortable in the clothes I wear and they're part of me, and part of my act.
MIRABELLE: Where do you buy all the outfits?
DAVID: A friend of mine is a designer and he makes most of them. I've been wearing things like this for quite some time, it's not all that new to me. The outfits I wear do get more and more outrageous, but that's the whole fun of the thing. The more outrageous they get, the more outrageous I get in my act. You see, I have to actually enjoy my act just as much as the audience, if I don't, one day I'll know something's wrong. Now whenever I get up on stage I really have a good time.
MIRABELLE: What was you group's first impression when you suggested they too, should wear freaky clothes?
DAVID: I'm quite amazed how quickly they've go into the habit of wearing outrageous clothes. They're a great blues-type band, and I didn't think they'd take too well to dressing up the way I do, but luckily they're into it now.
MIRABELLE: Were you very upset when, after your hit of a couple of years ago, 'Space Oddity', you seemed to fade from the scene and were looked on as a one hit wonder?
DAVID: I don't think I ever looked on myself as a one hit wonder. I wasn't just sitting around doing nothing after that hit. I was writing songs and getting a new act together. It wasn't a time of rest for me, as a lot of people think.
MIRABELLE: Your stage act is quite sexy. Would you agree with this and if so, why do you go out to shock?
DAVID: It is sexy, I can't deny that, and if I shock people, then it's too bad, but really I don't mind too much if I shock anyone. If they don't like what I'm doing then they don't have to come along to see me perform.
MIRABELLE: Is your wife into your music scene?
DAVID: Yeah, she likes what I'm doing.
MIRABELLE: Do you enjoy working for other groups?
DAVID: You mean Mott The Hoople, do you? Well, it's good working with them because in the studio they've got a feel for what's right. I was pleased with their version of my song, 'All The Young Dudes'. It gave them their first big hit, too, which was very nice for all of us.
MIRABELLE: Reports suggest that every concert you do these days finished up with 'sold out' notices across the doors. This must give you a great feeling of satisfaction. Describe the feeling you get when you know that hundreds and sometimes even thousands of people have come to see and hear you?
DAVID: It's impossible to describe that feeling, but you can be sure that it's good - real good.
MIRABELLE: Who do you think you appeal to? Any special age group?
DAVID: Not really. I want people to enjoy my sounds, and it doesn't matter what age group they are. If they're young or old, I don't mind if they like me. Nowadays the people who come along to see me in concert are about twenty, but there again, sometimes they're younger. I get all ages along to my shows.
MIRABELLE: Do you get on very well with your backing group?
DAVID: Well, we have to because we're together so much. If we didn't get on well, then we'd split. We couldn't carry on working together with a bad atmosphere because I feel that would come over in our stage act. We like what we're doing now, and we'll be together till we're tired of it.
MIRABELLE: You're very talented - writing songs, producing them and performing them. One of these things must give you more pleasure than the others. Which one is it?
DAVID: Well, they all give me pleasure. Like when I've written a song that I'm pleased with it's a tremendous feeling. When I've given a performance I'm pleased with it's fantastic, and when I've produced a sound that I think is good, it's marvellous.